Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Sean Bailey


Micro Air Vehicles (MAV’s) have small size and extreme maneuverability which makes them ideal for surveillance. Propulsion mechanisms include propellers, rotors, and flapping airfoils. Flapping motions, along with biologically-inspired wing profiles, are of interest due to their use of natural physics. Corrugated airfoil structures appears to have poor aerodynamic performance at higher Reynolds numbers, but serve well at Re<10,000. Understanding flow structures around corrugated profiles and comparing them to a standard airfoil will aid in understanding how these corrugated profiles perform well and have been adopted by some of nature’s most acrobatic flyers. Motivation for this investigation is to compare static flow visualizations of corrugated profiles to a standard National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) airfoil from low to high angles of attack and further observe flow structure development of a pitching and plunging flat plate at a Re<10,000 and a Strouhal number relevant to natural fliers. The static visualization was conducted at Re=1,000 with a NACA 0012 airfoil and two corrugated models. The Pitch and Plunge Fixture (PPF) developed was constructed by simplifying flapping wings as a two degree of freedom motion in plunge (translation) and pitch (rotation). Results obtained from the PPF were compared with a numerical simulation.