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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 2017, Article ID 3019640, 8 pages
Research Article

Experimental Investigation of Aerodynamics of Feather-Covered Flapping Wing

School of Aeronautics, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710072, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Wenqing Yang; nc.ude.upwn@gniqnewgnay

Received 22 August 2017; Revised 24 October 2017; Accepted 23 November 2017; Published 21 December 2017

Academic Editor: Craig P. McGowan

Copyright © 2017 Wenqing Yang and Bifeng Song. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Avian flight has an outstanding performance than the manmade flapping wing MAVs. Considering that the feather is light and strong, a new type of the flapping wing was designed and made, whose skeleton is carbon fiber rods and covered by goose feathers as the skin. Its aerodynamics is tested by experiments and can be compared with conventional artificial flapping wings made of carbon fiber rods as the skeleton and polyester membrane as the skin. The results showed that the feathered wing could generate more lift than the membrane wing in the same flapping kinematics because the feathered wing can have slots between feathers in an upstroke process, which can mainly reduce the negative lift. At the same time, the power consumption also decreased significantly, due to the decrease in the fluctuating range of the periodic lift curve, which reduced the offset consumption of lift. At the same time, the thrusts generated by the feather wing and the membrane wing are similar with each other, which increases with the increase of flapping frequency. In general, the aerodynamic performances of the feather wing are superior to that of the membrane wings.