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Open AccessArticle

Aerodynamic Optimization of a Micro Quadrotor Aircraft with Different Rotor Spacings in Hover

by Yao Lei 1,2,* and Hengda Wang 1
1
School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350116, China
2
Key Laboratory of Fluid Power and Intelligent Electro-Hydraulic Control (Fuzhou University), Fujian Province University, Fuzhou 350116, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(4), 1272; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10041272
Received: 15 January 2020 / Revised: 11 February 2020 / Accepted: 11 February 2020 / Published: 13 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicles: Methods and Applications)
In order to study the aerodynamic performance of the quadrotor with different rotor spacings in hover, experiments were performed together with numerical simulations. For experimental study, an experimental platform was designed to measure the thrust and power consumption of the quadrotor with different rotor spacings (L/R = 2.2, 2.6, 3.0, 3.2, 3.6, and 4.0), and to attempt to find out the optimal rotor configuration which makes the quadrotor have the best aerodynamic performance. In addition, the pressure distribution, vorticity of the blade tip, and velocity vector of quadrotor in the flow field were obtained by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) method to visually analyze the aerodynamic interference between adjacent rotors. By the comparison of experimental results and numerical simulations, the final results show that the aerodynamic performance of the quadrotor varies obviously with the change of rotor spacing, and it has a negative impact on hover efficiency if rotor spacing is too much small or large. The rotors pacing at L/R = 3.6 with larger thrust and smaller power is considered to be the best aerodynamic configuration for the quadrotor with better aerodynamic characteristics. Furthermore, compared with the isolated rotor, moderate aerodynamic interference is proved to help improve the aerodynamic performance of the quadrotor with a larger thrust, especially for a rotor spacing at L/R = 3.6. View Full-Text
Keywords: quadrotor; rotor spacing; hover; experimental platform; numerical simulation quadrotor; rotor spacing; hover; experimental platform; numerical simulation
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Lei, Y.; Wang, H. Aerodynamic Optimization of a Micro Quadrotor Aircraft with Different Rotor Spacings in Hover. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 1272.

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