Event Information

Distinguished Scholar Teacher Lecture: Hugh Bruck "Bioinspired Engineering: From Icarus to Robo..."
Thursday, December 8, 2016
4:00 p.m.
Kay Boardrooms
For More Information:


Speaker: Hugh Bruck
Associate Chair
Director of Graduate Studies
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University of Maryland

Bioinspired Engineering: From Icarus to Robo Raven

December 8, 2016 | 4:00 PM | Kay Boardrooms, Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building 

As engineers, we often use mechanics to understand motion, and materials science to manipulate matter to solve problems through novel structural solutions, such as strong, lightweight composites that can withstand the large aerodynamic forces needed for fixed wing aircraft and rotorcraft to fly. However, in nature, mechanics and materials often comes together in a variety of unique ways that we can have fun learning from. One of the most interesting is found in birds, where flexible, lightweight wings combine with powerful small muscles to generate aerodynamic forces much greater than their body weight by “flapping” and controlling their wing shape. However, this has been a challenge for us to duplicate in flying vehicles, where conventional composite wings are designed to be significantly more rigid to keep their shape as they are propelled through the air by motors. Recently, we have developed a new bio-inspired flapping wing air vehicle (FWAV) known as “Robo Raven”. It is capable of achieving flight in the same way birds do: by controlling their shape during flapping. This was accomplished through a new understanding of how to design flexible wing structures and to passively deform them through powerful, lightweight, and compact servo motors that can be programmed to act like muscles. While birds served as “biological inspiration” for Robo Raven, we have also been able to investigate the use of new materials, such as flexible solar cells and batteries, which we integrate into wings to harvest solar energy, store it, and sense the wing deformations generated by aerodynamic forces, resulting in new “multifunctional bio-inspired structures”. Thus, by adopting new paradigms as engineers where we learn from nature, we have been able to create FWAVs that are more autonomous and interact synergistically with their environment, just like real birds!  

More info at: www.enme.umd.edu/events/seminars

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