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Daniel Bateman, Kai He and Durlav Mudbhari

Exploring the Role of Functionally-Graded Flexible Wings in Bio-Inspired Flight

Departments: Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Keith Moored

Abstract:
Bird flight and the associated unsteady aerodynamics offer a rich source of inspiration for aviation enthusiasts and researchers. Birds have evolved to have impressive performance from being able to migrate over long distances, to maneuvering in tight spaces such as a dense forest or even by being silent enough to avoid detection by prey. A key element to achieve these amazing feats is the flexibility of the bird’s wings. Previous studies have shown that flexible wings can enhance force production and propulsive efficiency as well as reduce the noise of a fixed or flapping wing. The goal of this research is to study the effects of and the relationship between bio-inspired flexible wings and the various aerodynamic performance parameters of interest such as lift, thrust, and propulsive efficiency. This work will have broader impacts on sustainability and the environment. One outcome of this work will be to inform the development and design of the next generation of small, efficient and maneuverable unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles. Such devices could be used to effectively monitor terrestrial and aquatic animal populations or to monitor pollutants in waterways, bays and oceans. Therefore, our lab is mainly interested in understanding the physics of flexible wings and the role they play in enhancing aerodynamic parameters of interest so that they can be implemented in real world applications. The objective of this research project is to study the effects of and the relationship between bio-inspired flexible wings and various aerodynamic parameters of interest such as lift, thrust, and propulsive efficiency. This would help us shed light on the science of flexible wing dynamics in unsteady fluid motion.

About Daniel Bateman:
Daniel is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering. He grew up in central Massachusetts. He has been involved in research with the Biofluids Lab since the summer of 2014. He is a four year member of the Lehigh Swimming and Diving Team, as well as a member of the gymnastics club. In his free time Dan keeps busy with skydiving, mountaineering and skiing.

About Kai He:
Kai He is a senior mechanical engineering student with an electrical engineering minor at Lehigh University. He has been working with a research team under Prof. Keith Moored regarding bio-inspired engineering and fluid-structure interactions. Kai is mainly responsible for designing and fabricating mechanical systems of the experimental setup. In addition to this research, Kai has worked for Lutron Electronics as a mechanical engineering co-op, and will work for Lutron as a full time engineer after his graduation. Kai is also interested in four wheeling and off road vehicle modifications. He plans to design and fabricate high performance suspension components as a secondary career

About Durlav Mudbhari:
Durlav is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and IBE-Economics, with a minor in Aerospace Engineering. Born and raised in the foothills of Himalayas in Nepal, he came to Lehigh University to pursue undergraduate degree. He has been involved as an undergraduate research assistant in Biofluids Research Lab studying the fluid dynamics of flexible wings. Outside the classroom, he is the President of the Lehigh Aerospace Club, a member of Pi Tau Sigma (Mechanical Engineering honor society) and academic tutor for Thermodynamics. He has also served The Office of the First-Year Experience as a Camp Hawk Counselor. In his spare time, he is busy either playing guitar or designing, building and flying remote controlled aircraft. As a recipient of the President’s Scholarship, he wishes to continue working in his current research lab and graduate with an MS degree at the end of his fifth year at Lehigh.