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“AEROSPATIAL 2010” – Section 1

Aerodynamic parametric study for a small UAV

Mihai Victor Pricop, Eng., INCAS, Bucharest
Niculae Marin, PhD. INCAS Bucharest

Abstract: The paper presents results of a parametric study in an effort to develop a small UAV. The
design is constrained as payload, size, wing loading, endurance and many other certification
parameters, currently too early to be discussed. Preliminary vehicle configurations and their basic
aerodynamic characteristics are presented.


The intention is to develop an imagery acquisition vehicle, provided with a gimbaled high definition
sensor. Some of the requirements for the presented vehicle are:

Ready to fly mass 3Kg
Payload 0.5Kg
Payload consumption: 10W
Endurance 2h
Hand launched
Belly landing recovery
Transportation box length: 700mm
Cruising speed 15m/s
Electric propulsion, noise level

Preliminary configurations

The transportation box size is a strong constraint, with respect to the wing span and it’s splitting in
panels (as well as for the fuselage). It is mandatory to assemble the wing from 0.7m panels. The
reasonable choices are three panel wings (two joints) and four panel wings (three joints). Each
joint has a weight contribution and decreases the reliability of the system (adding electric
connections). While keeping the wing loading constant (60g/sqdm) and increasing the span, we
have an increase in AR from 8.8 to 14, with a reduction of MAC from 0.237m to 0.187m, which
corresponds to a Reynolds number reduction from 0.23M to 0.18M. The airfoil performance is quite
sensitive with respect to Re, in this low Re regime, even if it is specifically designed.

The first configuration airfoil is KLH2411 from [1]. The author optimized the NACA 2411 using
XFOIL. The predicted performance of the optimized airfoil was 300% of the original, in terms of
maximum L/D ratio, which is not credible. The next three configurations are using a specially
designed low Re airfoil, SD6060 (Selig-Donovan), provided with reliable wind-tunnel data as in [2].
However, to better exploit this airfoil, transition tripping must be applied.

Config. Wing area[sqm] AR Wing airfoil VH MAC[m] Re[M] Remarks
1 0.48 8.8 KLH2411 0.263 0.237 0.23 Poor longitudinal
2 0.48 8.8 SD6060 0.525 0.237 0.23
3 0.518 15 SD6060 0.523 0.187 0.18
4 0.515 8.57 SD6060 0.517 0.206 0.2
VH - volume of horizontal tail
MAC – mean aerodynamic chord
AR – wing aspect ratio

International Conference of Aerospace Sciences “AEROSPATIAL 2010” ISSN 2067-8622
Bucharest, 20-21 October, 2010 1

1 The four configurations Starting with the second configuration. 2 Least square reconstructed airfoil . “AEROSPATIAL 2010” – Section 1 Fig. 20-21 October. The CAD models for each of the configurations contain analytic defined curves for the airfoils. the fuselage is modified in order to accommodate a clamping system able to release the wing in the case of a hard landing. obtained by constrained least square interpolation. Fig. Fig. 3 Interpolation error continuous curves. diamonds – original points. max( y airfoil ) International Conference of Aerospace Sciences “AEROSPATIAL 2010” ISSN 2067-8622 Bucharest. 3 are computed as * 100% and min( y airfoil ) f upper ( x)  y airfoil * 100% . f lower ( x)  y airfoil The relative interpolation errors in Fig. 2010 2 .

around 100K nodes and 600K cells.2 0 0 -1 2 5 8 11 14 17 2. 4 -0. 3 11 conf. 4 conf. where the fluid domain is about 20 wing spans. There are not significant differences. That is because of decreasing the Re number from 2.4 conf. A fourth order Runge-Kutta scheme is used for time advancing and a second order scheme for the spatial discretization. 20-21 October. with a refined mesh consisting of 300K nodes and 1.20E-01 AoA[deg] Cd[-] Lift/Drag curve Pitching moment conf. Spalart-Allmaras turbulence model is used. 1 0.8 to 14 and related complications. 5 conf.20E-01 1. “AEROSPATIAL 2010” – Section 1 6 9 The interpolation functions are f lower ( x)   c i  i ( x) and f upper ( x)   c i  i ( x) where lower.4 9 -0. 2 conf.8e5.8 conf.2 1.5 7 -0. the 5th configuration is in fact the same as the 4th.00E-02 7. 2 Cl[-] conf. 2 13 conf. the gain in L/D is too small for an increment in AR from 8.3 conf.6 0. 4 0. Thus. 3 conf.9 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 AoA[deg] AoA[deg] Fig. 1 Cl[-] 0. 3 0. 4 Computed aerodynamic characteristics of the four configurations International Conference of Aerospace Sciences “AEROSPATIAL 2010” ISSN 2067-8622 Bucharest.8 3 -0.4 1.4 conf. 3 conf.7 5 -0. A mesh sensitivity comparison has been done for the fourth configuration. 2 0 15 conf. Apparently.8 conf.2 conf. 4 conf. The code runs with tetrahedral meshes obtained with TetGen and employs a cell-centered scheme. Roe scheme is used as interior scheme and also for the far field boundaries.4 1.2 1 1 0. 2010 3 .3e5 to 1.5M cells.70E-01 2.00E-02 1.2 0. Meshes are quite coarse. Lift curve Drag polar 1. 5 L/D[-] CMy[-] -0. 1 1 upper coefficients and basis functions are: T   x x x2 x3 x4 x5 x6 x7 x8  Results and conclusion An in-house compressible RANS code under development has been used to compute the aerodynamic characteristics of the four models. the most promising configuration as L/D is config. The solid wall boundary condition is using a wall law [3]. 3.6 conf. 5 0. 5 -0.1 conf.6 -0. 1 -1 2 5 8 11 14 17 -0. However.

12.75.0 46. doesn’t offer us the best energy density.60 15.0 13514 2 3 12 0. The 3rd configuration.60 15. An User-Guide. which confirms that the simpler design is overall.0 53. 1994.60 15.7 11261 3 3 14 0. 4.0 1250. The 4th configuration.3 8446 Table 1 Battery capacity for the given mission. In order to satisfy the requirements of flight – 2h endurance at 15m/s – for a configuration with L/D=12. Low Reynolds Number Aerodynamics.9 93. Lithium-Polymer. Kyuho Lee.1V). ISBN 3-5 40-5 1884-3 Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York [3] Fluid Dynamics Computation with NSC2KE. INRIA International Conference of Aerospace Sciences “AEROSPATIAL 2010” ISSN 2067-8622 Bucharest. 5-7 June 1989.6.6 107.0 1041.8 781.0. “AEROSPATIAL 2010” – Section 1 Assessing the graphs in Fig. A simple calculation reveals the required mass for the battery pack.25. easy to manufacture.9 9653 4 3 16 0. increasing. 2010 4 . The second configuration is to be chosen. 20-21 October. Bijan Mohammadi. Thus. appears to have almost the same performance as the 2nd. although good in aeromodelling.0 150. the possibilities are 2 packs of 6Ah or better 3 packs of 5Ah. Lipo No. This class of batteries. the pack weights at least 1. Release 1. for all configurations in ascending order as: 12. while maintaining simplicity . Proceedings of the Conference Notr Dame Indiana. is disappointing. as a function of L/D The parameter Eta in Table 1 is the product of efficiencies of propeller and electric motor. Weight L/D Eta Velocity Power En mass Capacity [daN] [-] [-] [m/s] [W] [Wh] [g] mAh 1 3 10 0.60 15. USA. 12.05Kg and needs a capacity of more than 12Ah (three cells – 11. having the same performance. 2004 [2] Low Reynolds Number Airfoil Design and Wind Tunnel Testing. better. we get values for L/D at cruise.5 125. 11.0 75.0 62.three panel ruled surface wing. with a much larger AR. with elliptic wings and tail.1 892. 11. References [1] Development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for Wildlife Surveillance. A thesis presented to the graduate school of the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.