Commenced in January 2007
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Paper Count: 1


1 Vibration Analysis of a Solar Powered UAV

Authors: Kevin Anderson, Sukhwinder Singh Sandhu, Nouh Anies, Shilpa Ravichandra, Steven Dobbs, Donald Edberg


This paper presents the results of a Finite Element based vibration analysis of a solar powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The purpose of this paper was to quantify the free vibration, forced vibration response due to differing point inputs in order to predict the relative response magnitudes and frequencies at various wing locations of vibration induced power generators (magnet in coil) excited by gust and/or control surface pulse-decays used to help power the flight of the electric UAV. A Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) study was performed in order to ascertain pertinent design stresses and deflections as well as aerodynamic parameters of the UAV airfoil. The 10 ft span airfoil is modeled using Mylar as the primary material. Results show that the free mode in bending is 4.8 Hz while the first forced bending mode is on range of 16.2 to 16.7 Hz depending on the location of excitation. The free torsional bending mode is 28.3 Hz, and the first forced torsional mode is range of 26.4 to 27.8 Hz, depending on the location of excitation. The FSI results predict the coefficients of aerodynamic drag and lift of 0.0052 and 0.077, respectively, which matches hand-calculations used to validate the Finite Element based results. FSI based maximum von Mises stresses and deflections were found to be 0.282 MPa and 3.4 mm, respectively. Dynamic pressures on the airfoil range from 1.04 to 1.23 kPa corresponding to velocity magnitudes in range of 22 to 66 m/s.

Keywords: ANSYS, finite element, FSI, UAV, vibrations.

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