Piezoelectric energy harvesting from morphing wing motions for micro air vehicles

Abstract
Wing flapping and morphing can be very beneficial to managing the weight of micro air vehicles through coupling the aerodynamic forces with stability and control. In this letter, harvesting energy from the wing morphing is studied to power cameras, sensors, or communication devices of micro air vehicles and to aid in the management of their power. The aerodynamic loads on flapping wings are simulated using a three-dimensional unsteady vortex lattice method. Active wing shape morphing is considered to enhance the performance of the flapping motion. A gradient-based optimization algorithm is used to pinpoint the optimal kinematics maximizing the propellent efficiency. To benefit from the wing deformation, we place piezoelectric layers near the wing roots. Gauss law is used to estimate the electrical harvested power. We demonstrate that enough power can be generated to operate a camera. Numerical analysis shows the feasibility of exploiting wing morphing to harvest energy and improving the design and performance of micro air vehicles.

Citation
Piezoelectric energy harvesting from morphing wing motions for micro air vehicles 2013, 3 (5):052004 Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters

Publisher
Elsevier BV

Journal
Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters

DOI
10.1063/2.1305204

Additional Links
http://scitation.aip.org/content/cstam/journal/taml/3/5/10.1063/2.1305204

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