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An Experimental Investigation Of µUAV Rotor Wingtip Vortices Through High Spatial Resolution PIV

Giosuè Longobardo (1), Tommaso Astarita (1), Fabrizio De Gregorio (2)

1. Università degli Studi di Napoli, Napoli, Italy
2. Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali, Capua, Italy


The interest for µ UAVs platforms with VTOL capabilities dramatically rose over the last decade due to the fast-paced advancements in electronics and control. However, the vortical structures shedded from the rotary wings -and their interaction-, which are responsible for high power usage and high noise level emissions, are yet to be fully understood. In this work, an experimental PIV campaign was conducted on a commercially available propeller with a 230mm diameter. The operating angular velocity was chosen to be 5750RPM, producing a chord Reynolds number of about Re_{c,75%} ≃ 11000, generating 3.42N of thrust while requiring 55W of power. The resolution of the PIV setup was able to reliably fit 8 measurement points in the vortex core when using narrowest field-of-view (FOV), while the widest FOV comprises a measurement area of about 0.5D×0.57D. Time averaged as well as phase averaged measurements were performed. The evolution and interaction of the wingtip vortices and shear layers shedded in the flow field is captured with an azimuthal angle step increment of ∆Ψ = 5º. The thrust produced by the multirotor configuration was indeed found to be approximately 5% lower than the one produced by the isolated propeller in hovering conditions. Additionally, the PIV setup successfully met the target spatial accuracy requirements: induced velocities are accurately captured in every stage of the wingtip vortex evolution.

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