Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Brian Dennis


Human engineers have been trying long to mimic creations of nature for their own benefits. One such area of interest is the insect based micro flapping wing flyers for their wide employment in commercial as well as military applications. These micro air vehicles (MAVs) are capable of performing acts that can be too dangerous for humans to perform, such as tactical reconnaissance in a combat zone. The maneuverability required of these MAVs call for a careful design and thorough study of their aerodynamic performance. This research goal is to provide an estimation of the forces generated during the flapping motion of an airfoil. The commercial computational fluid dynamics software package ANSYS Fluent was used to compute the unsteady forces on a flapping airfoil for different flapping cycle paths. Time averaged forces were then computed from the instantaneous results. A grid independence study was performed to decide the suitable dimension of the grid. Different methods for dealing with the moving boundary were evaluated using mesh deformation and remeshing for unstructured grids. There is also a need to validate the results obtained from computational analysis. A part of this work concentrated on the validation of ANSYS Fluent results with published experimental data for the unsteady pitching NACA 0012 airfoil.As an application of the computational model, a sensitivity analysis of various parameters like the Strouhal Number, Reynolds Number, Geometric function, and stroke angle of attack was done to see the effects of these factors in the force generation using Design of Experiments (DOE).


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington