Date of Award

Summer 8-12-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Uttam K. Chakravarty

Second Advisor

Paul J. Schilling

Third Advisor

Paul D. Herrington

Fourth Advisor

Ralph A. Saxton

Fifth Advisor

George E. Ioup

Sixth Advisor


Seventh Advisor



The highly optimized performance of nature’s creations and biological assemblies has inspired the development of their engineered counter parts that can potentially outperform conventional systems. In particular, bat wings are populated with air flow hair receptors which feedback the information about airflow over their surfaces for enhanced stability and maneuverability during their flight. The hairs in the bat wing membrane play a role in the maneuverability tasks, especially during low-speed flight. The developments of artificial hair sensors (AHS) are inspired by biological hair cells in aerodynamic feedback control designs. Current mathematical models for hair receptors are limited by strict simplifying assumptions of creeping flow hair Reynolds number on AHS fluid-structure interaction (FSI), which may be violated for hair structures integrated on small-scaled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). This study motivates by an outstanding need to understand the dynamic response of hair receptors in flow regimes relevant to bat-scaled UAVs. The dynamic response of the hair receptor within the creeping flow environment is investigated at distinct freestream velocities to extend the applicability of AHS to a wider range of low Reynolds number platforms. Therefore, a threedimensional FSI model coupled with a finite element model using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is developed for a hair-structure and multiple hair-structures in the airflow. The Navier-Stokes equations including continuity equation are solved numerically for the CFD model. The grid independence of the FSI solution is studied from the simulations of the hairstructure mesh and flow mesh around the hair sensor. To describe the dynamic response of the hair receptors, the natural frequencies and mode shapes of the hair receptors, computed from the finite element model, are compared with the excitation frequencies in vacuum. This model is described with both the boundary layer effects and effects of inertial forces due to fluid-structure xiv interaction of the hair receptors. For supporting the FSI model, the dynamic response of the hair receptor is also validated considering the Euler-Bernoulli beam theory including the steady and unsteady airflow.


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