A Numerical Analysis of a Multirotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Propeller Blade to Characterize the Aerodynamic Performance and Study the Turbulence Effects Generated
In the past few decades Multirotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (MUAV) have been used for many applications, such as, emergency rescue, agriculture data collection of meteorological variables, and logistics to name a few. With the increasing application of MUAV, it is significant to understand the aerodynamics and turbulence generated by the MUAV propeller blades to its surroundings. In this research study, the numerical approach computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was used to perform unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) simulations in the COMSOL Multiphysics CFD solver in order to evaluate the transient effects of turbulence. The main parameters studied in this research were 1) rotating speed of the propeller blade and 2) varying inlet free stream velocity in order to characterize the aerodynamic performance and study the turbulence effects generated by the DJI Matrice 100 propeller blade. It was found that as the rotational speed increases the thrust and turbulence proportionally increased. It was also found that at higher rotation speeds, the maximum turbulence occurs at 0.5D-0.75D beneath the propeller blade surface with a maximum turbulence intensity of 26%, while at lower RPM speeds the maximum turbulence occurred near 0.25D above the surface with a 2.5% intensity, for a propeller blade of diameter, D. Additionally, it was observed that as the free-stream velocity increased the propeller generated less thrust and hence reduced the turbulence effects generated by the propeller. It shows that the performance of the propeller blades are greatly influenced by environmental and operating conditions at relatively low speeds.