STUDY OF THE POWER REQUIRED FOR FLIGHT OF THE AQUA-QUAD (SOLAR-POWERED QUAD-ROTOR UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM)

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Authors
Yang, Sean
Subjects
unmanned aerial system
aerodynamics
solar-powered
autonomous
hybrid air vehicle
VTOL
swarm
Advisors
Jones, Kevin D.
Dobrokhodov, Vladimir N.
Date of Issue
2020-09
Date
Sep-20
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This thesis describes a study of the in-flight energy consumption of the Aqua-Quad'a Naval Postgraduate School'developed small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). The Aqua-Quad concept pairs small drones and solar power in an innovative quadrotor system that can be launched from water or land for persistent and autonomous Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations. The primary in-flight energy consumption of the Aqua-Quad stems from the thrust required to balance weight and drag. Analytically, this study used actuator disk theory to derive the power requirements based on the thrust and airspeeds during cruise and other phases of flight. To complete the power model, sub-models of the Aqua-Quad aerodynamics, particularly the lift induced by the solar arrays, were also developed. Experimental flights and Computational Fluid Dynamic analysis were conducted to validate these models. The models developed in this thesis can be used to predict the power required for different Aqua-Quad flight speeds and weights, allowing the maximum flight range and endurance to be determined. An accurate power model also allows for a high-fidelity energy balance model to aid in mission planning and design optimization. Moreover, these models can be generalized for other small quadrotor UAS, which are expanding into the industrial, commercial, and military sectors for novel applications.
Type
Thesis
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Department
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
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Approved for public release. distribution is unlimited
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