Aerodynamic Investigation and Simulation Studies on Wing Section of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Attached with Solar Plate

Document Type : Regular Article


1 Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Tamilnadu, 638401, India

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mahendra Engineering College, Tamilnadu, 637503, India

3 Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, Tamilnadu, 603103, India



The paper investigates the aerodynamic performance and power requirement characteristics of wing sections integrated with high-lift airfoil to support the operation of solar-powered Unmanned Aerial vehicle (UAV). The flight mission is aimed to simulate the operation of solar-powered UAVs under low -speed environment. The research focuses on studying the aerodynamic effect of non-solar UAV wing model and solar UAV wing model for the varying angle of attack. The UAV wing models are tested using a subsonic wind tunnel to validate the aerodynamic characteristics at low-speed condition. The aerodynamic parameters such as coefficient of lift (Cl), coefficient of drag (Cd), coefficient of pressure (Cp), and the total power required to accelerate the solar UAV are studied to maintain steady level flight.  The solar UAV and non-solar UAV wing models were subjected to a computational process to examine the pressure and velocity distributions for the aerodynamic performance analysis.  Evident results show that the solar cells positioned at the flow separation region of the UAV wing model produces an aerodynamic efficiency rate of 5.45% and required 37.13W of minimum power compared to non-solar UAV at the Reynolds number of 9.8  106.


Main Subjects

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Volume 16, Issue 8
August 2023
Pages 1666-1674
  • Received: 30 November 2022
  • Revised: 02 April 2023
  • Accepted: 10 April 2023
  • Available online: 31 May 2023