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Decoding the Nature of Flapping Flight by port-Hamiltonian System Theory

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PORTWINGS (Decoding the Nature of Flapping Flight by port-Hamiltonian System Theory)

Reporting period: 2018-10-01 to 2020-03-31

What are the secrets of bird flights? After 500 years from the first studies of Leonardo da Vinci, we understand much better the principles, but we are far from having decoded the various details of the interaction between the wings motion and the fluid around it which allows birds to fly. In PortWings we have the ambition to change this by using novel modeling methods based on Port Hamiltonian System theory to deeply understand the multi-physics described by coupled Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) involved and then build new prototypes which use the developed theory together with innovative engineering techniques on design and material to built a new robotic bird prototype. If we will manage to do that, the knowledge gained in the process will have a multitude of applications in energy, biology and all those filelds where multi-physics and control of complex dynamics plays a role.
In this first period, we have gone back to the basics of physics to reconsider how we can model multi-physical systems relating to fluid dynamics in a way which would shift the paradigm to a real composable methodology: a real “LEGO of physics”: a LEGO-piece for the kinetic energy of the fluid, a LEGO-piece to represent friction effecti in the fluid, a LEGO-piece for the wing deformation and so forth.
The way these LEGO-pieces can be formally, precisely attached is now clear. We have discovered a number of conceptual issues relating to what changes if we want to have a complete open methodology (LEGO like). We are working on a number of publications which are currently under completion and will clarify these first results. On a more practical side, we are looking at new paradigms to create intelligent sensing and actuation and possible energy storage for a robotic bird  by using additive manufacturing. Novel ideas have resulted in 3D-printing batteries, beams with distributed active stiffness and modeling and measurement techniques for characterization of 3D-printed conductors that can be used for embedded sensors.