Scaleable Novel Configurations for UAS Applications
Sponsors: Army, Navy and NASA sponsored University of Maryland Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence
The goal of this collaborative project with University of Maryland is to conduct experimental and computational studies to develop a fundamental understanding of the upward scalability on rotor aeromechanics, empty weight fractions, and vehicle dynamics of revolutionary flying concepts such as cyclocopter and quad-biplane for UAS applications. The objective will be to examine whether these concepts are feasible at larger scales for specific missions and how far the performance benefits persist with scales. Specifically, we seek to understand the effect of upward scalability on: (1) empty weight fractions, structural loads, blade deflections, vehicle dynamics and flight controllability; (2) key performance benefits such as hover efficiency, high forward speed, gust tolerance, and lower noise signatures; and (3) unique aeromechanics phenomena such as development and stability of leading edge vortices, unsteady lift augmentation and wing-propeller aerodynamic interactions.
Towards this, systematic experiments were conducted to measure performance, blade aero loads, deflections and flowfield over a range of scales and reduced order models as well as high-fidelity CFD/CSD-based aeroelastic analysis have been developed and validated. These analyses have been used to systematically understand the effects of scale. A l6-pound cyclocopter and 20-pound quad-rotor biplane UAV have been designed and built. The next step is to develop component weight sizing and develop design guidelines that can be applicable over a range of scales, develop and validate reduced order flight dynamics models with in-house flight-test data to estimate feedback and sensing requirements at different scales, identify the limits of scalability of each concept in terms of hover/forward-flight performance, structural loads, blade deflections/stability, controllability and vehicle empty weight, and finally, apply these design principles to demonstrate scalability through building and flight testing these novel UAV-scale flying platforms.
Students: Dr. Atanu Halder, Adam Kellen, Ramsay Ramsey, Chase Wiley, David Wu