Development of elastomeric flight muscles for flapping wing micro air vehicles

Gih Keong Lau*, Yao Wei Chin, Thanh Giang La

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Common drivers of flapping wings are a motorized crank mechanisms, which convert the motor rotation into wing reciprocation. Energetic efficiency of the motorized wing flappers can be quite low due to the lack of elastic storage and high friction. This paper relook into the flapping flight apparatus of natural flyers and draw inspiration to develop flight muscles capable of elastic storage, in addition to the frictionless thoracic compliant mechanisms. We review the recent findings on the use of dielectric elastomer actuators as flight muscles. We also discuss the challenges and the prospects of using dielectric elastomer minimum energy structure to create large and fast bending/unbending, possibly for wing flapping.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2017
EditorsYoseph Bar-Cohen
ISBN (Electronic)9781510608115
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
EventElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2017 - Portland, United States
Duration: 26 Mar 201729 Mar 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2017
CountryUnited States


  • Dielectric elastomer actuator
  • apping wing
  • compliant mechanisms
  • ight muscles

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