Experimental Validation for a Multifunctional Wing Spar with Sensing, Harvesting, and Gust Alleviation Capabilities Conference Paper uri icon


  • This paper experimentally examines an autonomous gust alleviation system using a multifunctional wing spar and holds promise for improving small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) performance in wind gusts. The wing itself is able to harvest energy from the normal vibrations during flight. If the wing experiences any strong wind gust, it will sense the increased vibration levels and provide vibration control to maintain its stability. The proposed multifunctional wing spar integrates two flexible piezoelectric wafers, a printable circuit board into a honeycomb-core fiberglass composite structure. This wing spar, considered an autonomous gust alleviation system, therefore carries on the functions of energy harvesting, strain sensing, and gust alleviation via piezoelectric materials. Numerical simulation and experimental validation are performed to validate the multi-mode Euler-Bernoulli cantilever beam modeling and its equivalent harvesting, sensing and actuating circuit modeling, developed in a previous publication. A recently developed reduced energy control law is experimentally implemented to reduce 76% of energy consumption compared to conventional positive strain feedback control law, for the same control performance requirement (an 11 dB reduction for the 1st mode and a 7dB reduction for the 2nd mode). Experimental results also show that it is feasible to alleviate wind gust disturbance from 2.3 mm (RMS) tip displacement to 0.7 mm (RMS) using harvesting power from ambient vibrations during flight. 2012 AIAA.

published proceedings

  • IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, Y. a., & Inman, D. J.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Ya||Inman, Daniel J

publication date

  • August 2013