Theoretical and practical investigation into the use of a bio-inspired “click” mechanism for the flight motor of a micro air vehicle

Bin Tang, Xia Meng, Fuliang Zhang, Michael J. Brennan, Gih Keong Lau, Zheng Wang, Liyan Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recently, flapping wing micro air vehicles have received great attention with the drive to make smaller and smaller devices. This paper describes a theoretical investigation and subsequent practical implementation of a specific type of flight motor structure for this type of micro air vehicle that uses a “click” mechanism to improve mechanical efficiency. Diptera, which may use the mechanism, are the inspiration for this work. It builds on previous research into the “click” mechanism, which has been studied both from the biological and engineering points of view. It is difficult to capture the important fine details using a simple analytical model; hence, a multi-body dynamic software is used to model the device and to aid the design of a large-scale prototype. Force–deflection curves of the structure and the displacement response are obtained numerically and experimentally. The experimental and numerical results compare reasonably well, enabling the model to be used for further development and potential miniaturization of the flight motor structure. In a practical device, asymmetry occurs in the up- and down-stroke. The effects of this asymmetry are compared with previous results from analytical models. It is found that asymmetry offers a marginal improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Micro Air Vehicles
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Flapping wing
  • asymmetric
  • energy ratio
  • micro air vehicle
  • multi-body dynamic analysis

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Theoretical and practical investigation into the use of a bio-inspired “click” mechanism for the flight motor of a micro air vehicle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this