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Title: The Design and Manufacturing of a Composite UAV Airframe for Dynamic Soaring
Authors: Simpkins, Miles
Advisors: Martinelli, Luigi
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Class Year: 2022
Abstract: The speed record for a remote controlled aircraft is 548 mph [3]. Surprisingly, this was set by a hobbyist’s unpowered glider utilizing a phenomenon called dynamic soaring. Dynamic soaring is conducted by flying extremely tight loops within a primary vortex generated by strong winds that separate over the top of a ridge or mountain. In flying these loops, dynamic soaring aircraft experience high load factors, and are generally made from composite materials. The dynamic soaring environment contains a large amount of energy that could theoretically be harnessed and used to help power an aircraft. This thesis will present the design, analysis, and manufacturing of a powered, dynamic soaring testbed airframe, with enough payload capacity to conduct a useful mission like surveying land or search and rescue. The aircraft design utilizes a carbon fiber wing with an original airfoil design, a 3D-printed core carbon fiber tail, and a 3D printed fuselage. This thesis successfully simulated the dynamic soaring environment, designed the aircraft, validated the carbon fiber wing with FEA and CFD, and constructed the wing using a wet-layup process. According to FEA, the wing can withstand a load factor of 35 g’s at the maximum designed mission weight of 4.5 lbf before ultimately failing. Other parts of the aircraft were fully designed but not realized. Future work includes finishing construction, more detailed airfoil CFD, wind tunnel tests of the airfoil, structural tests of the wing, flight tests, and designing and testing the power generation system.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 1924-2022

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