Goetz Bramesfeld

Ryerson University 
Project Title: High-fidelity aerodynamic analysis of unmanned multirotor vehicles
Industry Partner: 
Aeryon Labs Inc. 

Advanced ManufacturingDigital Media

The objective of the proposed research is to gain a better understanding of the complex aerodynamics of small multirotor vehicles, such as quadcopters. This will enable Aeryon Labs, a Canadian company and world leader in small unmanned systems, to improve the development cycles of their products and respond faster to customer needs. Multirotor vehicles are popular platforms for many remote sensing applications because of the relative ease to control them at hover. During fast flight, however, control becomes challenging, because of highly nonlinear aerodynamics. These nonlinearities are due to the small-scale aerodynamics typical for these vehicles, and the interaction of the flow fields of several rotors that operate in close proximity. The proposed research builds on existing research on multirotor-vehicle aerodynamics. In order to expand our understanding of the complex aerodynamics of multirotor vehicles, we propose to model a quadcopter using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The CFD results will be compared with the lower-fidelity predictions and experimental results. The investigation of the predictive method will benefit from experiments performed in the large low-speed wind tunnel at Ryerson University, flight tests and an existing collaboration with Aeryon Labs. As part of the proposed research project one postdoctoral fellow, one doctoral student and two MASc students will receive training in the area of applied aerodynamics. The results will benefit Aeryon Labs with superior design tools that will improve their product line. Small aerial systems represent a rapidly expanding market segment worldwide, in which Canadian companies, such as Aeryon, play an important role.