Mechanical Engineering Department, Curtin University, Miri, Sarawak, 98009, Malaysia
Petroleum Engineering Department, Curtin University, Miri, Sarawak, 98009, Malaysia
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study was done on the propeller design of a micro aerial vehicle (quadrotor-typed) to optimize its aerodynamic performance via Shear Stress Transport K-Omega (SST k-ω) turbulence model. The quadrotor model used was WL-V303 Seeker. The design process started with airfoils selection and followed by the evaluation of drone model in hovering and cruising conditions. To sustain a 400g payload, by Momentum Theory an ideal thrust of 5.4 N should be generated by each rotor of the quadrotor and this resulted in an induced velocity of 7.4 m/s on the propeller during hovering phase, equivalent to Reynolds number of 10403 at 75% of the propeller blade radius. There were 6 propellers investigated at this Reynolds number. Sokolov airfoil which produced the largest lift-to-drag ratio was selected for full drone installation to be compared with the original model (benchmark). The CFD results showed that the Sokolov propeller generated 0.76 N of thrust more than the benchmark propeller at 7750 rpm. Despite generating higher thrust, higher drag was also experienced by the drone installed with Sokolov propellers. This resulted in lower lift-to-drag ratio than the benchmark propellers. It was also discovered that the aerodynamic performance of the drone could be further improved by changing the rotating direction of each rotor. Without making changes on the structural design, the drone performance increased by 39.58% in terms of lift-to-drag ratio by using this method.