COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF MINIATURE INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE AND ELECTRIC MOTOR FOR UAV PROPULSION
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This thesis compares the performance of an engine/fuel tank based propulsion system to a motor/battery based propulsion system of equal total mass. The results show that the endurance of the engine/fuel system at the same thrust output is approximately 5 times greater than that of the motor/battery system. This is a direct result of the fact that the specific energy of the fuel is 20 times that of the lithium-polymer batteries used to power the motor. A method is also developed to account for the additional benefits of fuel consumption (and hence weight reduction) over the course of the flight. Accounting for this effect can increase endurance exponentially. Taken together, the results also demonstrate the dramatic performance improvements that are possible simply by replacing motor/battery systems with engine/fuel systems on small unmanned air vehicles.