Research in Engineering and Aviation

Performance Reliability Assessment of a Flexible Wing Micro Air Vehicle using an Efficient Fluid-Structure Interaction Method

June 2013

Author(s): Combes, T. P., Zhang, F., Hackett, M., Malik, A.S., Bramesfeld, G.

31st AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, June 24-27, 2013, San Diego, CA.


The reliability of sustained flight of a thin wing Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) is studied by considering both structural and aerodynamic parameters as uncertain (random) variables. The structural design variables of the wing that are considered to be random are shell thickness, frame elastic modulus, shell elastic modulus, shell cross sectional area, frame material density, and shell material density. The random aerodynamic variables include the free stream velocity and the air density. In the reliability assessment, both the Monte-Carlo simulation method and the Hasofer-Lind-Rackwitz-Fiessler analytical method are used in conjunction with an efficient fluid-structure interaction model to calculate the probability of the MAV achieving adequate lift. The lift reliability, calculated using both methods, is compared, insight is given into influential uncertain parameters, and future reliability-based assessment questions are posed.