Tendon-sheath mechanisms in flexible membrane wing mini-UAVs : control and performance
Date of Issue2017
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Flexible membrane wings (FMWs) are known for two inherent advantages, that is, adaptability to gusty airflow as the wings can flex according to the gust load to reduce the effective angle of attack and the ability to be folded for compact storage purposes. However, the maneuverability of UAV with FMWs is rather limited as it is impossible to install conventional ailerons. The maneuver relies only on the rudders. Some applications utilize torque rods to warp the wings, but this approach makes the FMW become unfoldable. In this research, we proposed the application of a tendon-sheath mechanism to manipulate the wing shape of UAV. Tendon-sheath mechanism is relatively flexible; thus, it can also be folded together with the wings. However, its severe nonlinearity in its dynamics makes the wing warping difficult to control. To compensate for the nonlinearity, a dedicated adaptive controller is designed and implemented. The proposed approach is validated experimentally in a wind tunnel facility with imitated gusty condition and subsequently tested in a real flight condition. The results demonstrate a stable and robust wing warping actuation, while the adaptive washout capability is also validated. Accurate wing warping is achieved and the UAV is easily controlled in a real flight test.
Flexible Membrane Wing
International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
© 2017 Tegoeh Tjahjowidodo and Shian Lee. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.