M.S. Thesis Presentation by Pearl Haiyan Fung
Tuesday, April 10, 2001

(Dr. Ari Glezer, advisor)

"Flow Control Over A Micro Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Using Synthetic Jet Actuators"

Abstract

A new class of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is investigated experimentally, based on the flying ducted fan concept.  The directional and rotational control of the UAV (~0.5m in diameter and 0.15m in height) is obtained by controlling the flow within the duct, which results in manipulation of the global aerodynamic forces and moments on the UAV.  This is achieved by the activation of surface fluidic actuators based on synthetic jet technology that are located downstream from a miniature passive obstruction.  The synthetic jets are mounted on a set of four fixed stators located downstream from the propeller.  In the present work, the flow field around the stator vanes at different radial locations is studied using the particle image velocimetry (PIV), where the angle of attack of the stator vanes is fixed at 10 and the propeller rotation speed is either 4300RPM or 6200RPM.  Velocity measurements in the near wake are also obtained, and the data show that as a result of the actuation, the cross-stream extent of the wake and its velocity deficit are significantly reduced, and the flow seems to be quasi-steady.

Application of active flow control reduces the UAVís propulsion and control systems to a single moving part, a fixed pitch propeller.  This mechanical simplicity makes the active flow control application attractive for development of mini and micro UAVs in particular.