UNDERSTANDING OF LOW REYNOLDS NUMBER AERODYNAMICS AND DESIGN OF MICRO ROTARY-WING AIR VEHICLES
Winslow, Justin Michael
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The goal of the present research is to understand aerodynamics at low Reynolds numbers and synthesize rules towards the development of hovering micro rotary-wing air vehicles (MRAVs). This entailed the rigorous study of airfoil characteristics at low Reynolds numbers through available experimental results as well as the use of an unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes solver. A systematic, experimental, variation of parameters approach with physical rotors was carried out to design and develop a micro air vehicle-scale rotor which maximizes the hover Figure of Merit. The insights gained in low Reynolds number aerodynamics have been utilized in the systematic design of a high endurance micro-quadrotor. Based on available characteristics, the physical relations governing electric propulsion system and structural weights have been derived towards a sizing methodology for small-scale rotary-wing vehicles.