Electromagnetic Actuator for Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicles

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Traditionally, flapping wing micro air vehicles (MAV) have successfully utilized only a few forms of actuation. Piezoelectric actuators can generate enhanced stroke amplitudes and fast response, but they require high voltages, and therefore, complex circuitry, which add size and weight. Commercial DC motors paired with gear transmissions have demonstrated sustained hover abilities, but generally, offer only fixed wing kinematics and high mechanical wear.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a novel technique for flapping wing flight using an electromagnetic actuator that produces harmonic oscillation of the wings, which can easily be scaled. Excess energy can be harvested from the system and stored or used to power additional systems, eliminating the need for large power units. Using fewer less costly components simplifies the fabrication and reduces the possible modes of failure. Air vehicles using this type of technology offer superior maneuverability and response over traditional vehicles, as well as efficient use of stored electrical energy, allowing its use in most applications, from general consumer to military.

-Fewer mechanical components and fewer points of failure
-Greater maneuverability and response
-Increased energy conservation and storage
-Scalability and large range of applications

Potential Applications:
-Air Vehicles
Mar 10, 2014
Utility Patent
United States
Jul 17, 2018

Jul 13, 2018
United States

Mar 8, 2013
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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