Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Hui Hu

Second Advisor

Frederick Haan

Third Advisor

Thomas Rudolphi


The purpose of this study was to verify, explore, and better understand low Reynolds number flows associated with wing configurations/designs for potential Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) applications. Chapter 2 discusses and details the results from an experimental study entailing force measurements and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) of an airfoil design inspired from the wing of a dragonfly. The comparison airfoils for this experiment are a flat plate, and the 'envelope' shape formed by the streamlines of the flow passing over the corrugated airfoil. In order to achieve this streamline shape as a boundary, the corrugated airfoil was tightly wrapped with paper. Tests were then conducted in the chord Reynolds number range of 5.8 x 104 to 1.23 x 105; corresponding to the Reynolds number regime for MAVs. The results show that the corrugated airfoil out performs the 'smooth' airfoil and flat plate in low Reynolds number flows. However, as the Reynolds number increases, the performance of the smooth airfoil also increases and the advantage of the corrugation diminishes.;Chapter 3 details a very preliminary study of the phenomena employed by most all natural flyers; flapping wings. Although flapping flight has remained quite elusive through our short 100 year history in aviation, the small scale of MAV's may be able to exploit this natural technique. Results are discussed for the variation of several parameters including changing angle of attack from -5 to 15 degrees, wing beat (flapping) frequency from 3.5 to 10.0 beats per second, and chord Reynolds number from approximately 5.4 x 104, 7.7 x 104 and 9.8 x 104. The results of the study show that the main force generated is in the direction of the x-axis of the body, thus in order to create lift for the vehicle to climb, it is necessary to have a positive angle of attack.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Jeffery T. Murphy



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




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File Size

101 pages