Toward a Dielectric Elastomer Resonator Driven Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle

Chongjing Cao, Stuart Burgess, Andrew Conn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
504 Downloads (Pure)


In the last two decades, insect-inspired flapping wing micro air vehicles (MAVs) have attracted great attention for their potential for highly agile flight. Insects flap their wings at the resonant frequencies of their flapping mechanisms. Resonant actuation is highly advantageous as it amplifies the flapping amplitude and reduces the inertial power demand. Emerging soft actuators such as dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) have large actuation strains and thanks to their inherent elasticity, DEAs have been shown a promising candidate for resonant actuation. In this work a double cone DEA configuration is presented, a mathematic model is developed to characterize its quasi-static and dynamic performance. We compare the high frequency performance of two most common dielectric elastomers: silicone elastomer and polyacrylate tape VHB. The mechanical power output of the DEA is experimentally analyzed as a DEA-mass oscillator. Then a flapping wing mechanism actuated by this elastic actuator is demonstrated, this design is able to provide a peak flapping amplitude of 63° at the frequency of 18 Hz.
Original languageEnglish
Article number137
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Issue numberJAN
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019


  • Dielectric Elastomer
  • micro air vehicle (MAV)
  • Bio-insect flapping-wing micro aerial vehicle (BioI-FWMAV)
  • nonlinear model
  • Bio-inspired actuation


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