Static strength analysis of dragonfly inspired wings for biomimetic micro aerial vehicles

Praveena Nair Sivasankaran, Thomas A. Ward, Rubentheren Viyapuri, Mohd Rafie Johan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the suitability of fabricating artificial, dragonfly-like, wing frames from materials that are commonly used in unmanned aircraft (balsa wood, black graphite carbon fiber and red prepreg fiberglass). Wing frames made with Type 321 stainless steel are also examined for comparison. The purpose of these wings is for future use in biomimetic micro aerial vehicles (BMAV). BMAV are a new class of unmanned micro-sized aerial vehicles that mimic flying biological organisms (like flying insects). Insects, such as dragonflies, possess corrugated and complex vein structures that are difficult to mimic. Simplified dragonfly-like wing frames were fabricated from these materials and then a nano-composite film was adhered to them, which mimics the membrane of an actual dragonfly. Finite element analysis simulations were also performed and compared to experimental results. The results showed good agreement (less than 10% difference for all cases). Analysis of these results shows that stainless steel is a poor choice for this wing configuration, primarily because of the aggressive oxidation observed. Steel, as well as balsa wood, also lacks flexibility. In comparison, black graphite carbon fiber and red prepreg fiberglass offer some structural advantages, making them more suitable for consideration in future BMAV applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-423
Number of pages13
JournalChinese Journal of Aeronautics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


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