Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Kamesh Subbarao


Insect flight comes with a lot of intricacies that cannot be explained by conventional aerodynamics. Even with their small-size, insects have the ability to generate the required aerodynamic forces using high frequency flapping motion of their wings to perform different maneuvers. The maneuverability obtained by these flyers using flapping motion belies the classical aerodynamics theory and calls for a new approach to study this highly unsteady aerodynamics. Research is on to find new ways to realize the flight capabilities of these insects and engineer a micro-flyer which would have various applications, ranging from autonomous pollination of crop fields and oil & gas exploration to area surveillance and detection & rescue missions.In this research, a parametric study of flapping trajectories is performed using a two-dimensional wing to identify the factors that affect the force production. These factors are then non-dimensionalized and used in a design of experiments set-up to conduct sensitivity analysis. A procedure to determine an aerodynamic model comprising cycle-averaged force coefficients is described. This aerodynamic model is then used in a nonlinear dynamics framework to perform flight dynamics analysis using a micro-flyer with model properties based on Drosophila. Stability analysis is conducted to determine different steady state flight conditions that could achieved by the micro-flyer with the given model properties. The effect of scaling the mass properties is discussed. An LQR design is used for closed-loop control. Open and closed-loop simulations are performed. The results show that nonlinear dynamics framework can be used to determine values for model properties of a micro-flyer that would enable it to perform different flight maneuvers.


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington