Rib Structural Testing

Recently, lots of testing has been conducted here at the barn. This process is necessary to ensure the project's success since it is used to verify our computer modeling and give us firsthand experience on our construction processes. Much of the testing aims to ensure components are not under designed or over designed and to optimize our manufacturing techniques in order to get flying as soon as possible.

Below you'll find a clip about testing of the bond between each rib (foam/balsa piece that maintains the shape of the airfoil) and the spar (the structural member of the rotor). The first test concluded that the previous method used on the human powered ornithopter project was severely over designed for our purposes. This method involved a substantial fillet of bonding epoxy at the interface of the rib/spar. Many different adhesives, fillers and application techniques were tested in an attempt to make the bond lighter and easier to construct and the results were quite astounding: the weight of each bond was reduced by 92%! This method still resulted in sufficiently high factor of safety and is fast and easy to apply. This small change will result in a savings of about 912g over the entire aircraft: a substantial reduction!