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Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis and Optimization of the Coanda Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform

Authors: Nigel Q. Kelly, Zaid Siddiqi, Jin W. Lee


It is known that using Coanda aerosurfaces can drastically augment the lift forces when applied to an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platform. However, Coanda saucer UAVs, which commonly use a dish-like, radially-extending structure, have shown no significant increases in thrust/lift force and therefore have never been commercially successful: the additional thrust/lift generated by the Coanda surface diminishes since the airstreams emerging from the rotor compartment expand radially causing serious loss of momentums and therefore a net loss of total thrust/lift. To overcome this technical weakness, we propose to examine a Coanda surface of straight, cylindrical design and optimize its geometry for highest thrust/lift utilizing computational fluid dynamics software ANSYS Fluent®. The results of this study reveal that a Coanda UAV configured with 4 sides of straight, cylindrical Coanda surface achieve an overall 45% increase in lift compared to conventional Coanda Saucer UAV configurations. This venture integrates with an ongoing research project where a Coanda prototype is being assembled. Additionally, a custom thrust-stand has been constructed for thrust/lift measurement.

Keywords: CFD, Coanda, Lift, UAV.

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