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CONCEPTUAL AND AERODYNAMIC DESIGN OF A UAV FOR

SUPERFICIAL VOLCANO MONITORING.


Unmanned systems have ideal characteristics to recognize areas of difficult access,
accomplishing missions that could not be made with traditional aircraft, hence, in the last years,
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) technology has improved.
One of the main drawbacks, when monitoring active volcanoes, arises from difficult access to
summit areas, because of logistic problems, due the volcanic hazard.
Gas emission and geographical deformations in volcanoes are warnings of possible eruption;
responsible entities in monitoring volcanoes have different methods to make accurate monitoring
inside and outside the craters. One of these is done by continuous flights over the craters, making
real-time videos to watch geomorphological changes; this is made with the help of manned
aircraft, risking the live of pilots and technical specialists in volcanoes.
In order to study the behavior of an active volcano, more popular and effective devices in
measuring volcanological parameters are being developed. Under these conditions, was
designed a UAV for superficial volcano monitoring.
The aim of this UAV is to serve for constant monitoring of volcanoes, gathering data from
geographical territory, where low speeds are required, in order to allow taking pictures and videos
at real time over volcanoes.
For the conceptual design, a parametric study was made, using statistical entropy and constraint
analysis, to determine the minimum value of wing area and thrust required for the UAV. The first
calculations of aerodynamics were executed analytically, starting with the wing, through the
determination of the best aerodynamic airfoil to perform the mission, then the Prandtl lifting-line
theory was used in order to predict the lift distribution over the three-dimensional wing, reducing
the induced drag, with the aim to find the ideal operational speed.
Finally the fuselage and empennage was designed improving the aerodynamic efficiency and
getting positive effects on aircraft performance. A Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis
was carried out in order to obtain the aerodynamic coefficients of lift and drag at several attack
angles. The results obtained in the computational simulations regarding to the aerodynamics
coefficients, shown on a large scale as would be the behavior in mission of the UAV, with this is
verified that the Eppler 423 is the ideal airfoil to perform the mission. The result shows that the
maximum aerodynamic efficiency (L/Dmax) is 17.7 at 0.5 [degrees]. This attack angle indicates
the optimum flight configuration of the UAV.
In Fig. 1 (a) we can see the CAD of the conceptual design of the UAV and in Fig. 1(b) the CFD
simulation at 0.5 degrees. The variation of efficiency with the angle of attack in the drag polar
obtained with the computational analysis with the traditional methods of aircraft design, are shown
in the figure 2.

(C)

(b)
Figure 1.

2,5
2

CL

1,5
1
0,5
0
0

0,05

0,1

0,15

0,2

CD
CFD Drag Polar

Figure 2.

Empirical Drag Polar

0,25