Quadrotor Drone Hovering in Ground Effect
Yasutada Tanabe*1, Hideaki Sugawara*1, Shigeru Sunada*2, Koichi Yonezawa*3, and Hiroshi Tokutake*4
*1Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
6-13-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0015, Japan
Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8603, Japan
*3Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI)
1646 Abiko, Abiko-shi, Chiba 270-1194, Japan
Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-1192, Japan
A variable-pitch-controlled quadrotor drone was simulated in the ground effect using a high-fidelity CFD solver. In contrast to a single rotor in the ground effect, which has been extensively studied for conventional helicopters, the flow fields around multiple rotors are complex. In this study, the rotating speed of the rotors was maintained constant, and the blade pitch angles were adjusted so that the total thrust of the multicopter was the same regardless of the rotor height from the ground. It was observed that the power required for the quadrotors, which generate the same thrust, decreases when the rotors are approaching the ground from the height where they can be considered to be out of the ground effect, but increases locally when the rotor height is approximately the rotor radius, owing to flow recirculation into the rotor, and then decreases abruptly when the rotors further approach the ground. The outwash from the quadrotors depends heavily on the direction relative to the quadrotor layout. Along the plane crossing the diagonal rotor centers, the outwash velocity profiles resemble those of a single rotor; however, the outwash from the rotor gaps is stronger and extends to a much higher altitude.
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