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Conceptual Design: Optimization of Medium Scale Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Propulsion System

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Technical Report,12 Mar 2018,11 Mar 2019

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University of Tennessee Knoxville United States

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The goal of this project is to explore propulsion system configurations and designs for medium-scale 1001000 lb payload unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs with vertical takeoff and landing VTOL capabilities. Recently, there has been much interest in developing medium-scale VTOL UAVs for support, resupply, and search and rescue operations. Such UAVs will need to have sufficient endurance, must have inherent safety when operating in close proximity to personnel, and must be capable of transporting payloads on the order of 500 lb distances on the order of 10 km. Such medium-scale UAVs currently fall into somewhat of a gray area for propulsion system designs. At the large-scale end of the spectrum, the optimal propulsion system design is based on a conventional gas turbine engineshaftgearboxrotor mechanical configuration. While at the limit of the small scale, a pure electric batterymotorrotor propulsion system similar to many RC hobby drones or so-called micro aerial vehicles MAVs is most feasible and practical. In the middle scale, however, it is not yet clear what the optimal propulsion system configuration for VTOL UAV applications would be. To advance the state of the art, this project will design and compare several conceptual propulsion system configurations for a medium-scale VTOL UAV application.

Subject Categories:

  • Electric and Ion Propulsion

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