Aerodynamic Optimization of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle through Propeller Improvements


Mechanical Engineering Department, Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE


This paper aimed at presenting a number of suggested improvements that can enhance the performance of a multi-rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Evaluating each suggestion in terms of the added benefits and feasibility concluded a final choice, which is incorporating a sinusoidal leading-edge profile to the propeller. This choice was numerically investigated with ANSYS Fluent 16.1 through the SST K-Omega turbulence model. The performance of the modified propeller was assessed by comparing the lift and drag results to the same propeller with a straight leading-edge under the same conditions. Both models were studied at pre-stall and post-stall conditions to see the performance effect with respect to the angle of attack. The findings of this research showed 7% increase in the lift force and coefficient that were associated with the addition of the sinusoidal leading-edge including improved recovery from stall spanning from angle of attack that extends between 10° to 25°. This research also provides more insights into how the delayed stall and improved lift help the multirotor to extend flight time and carry heavier payloads. It allows for the exploration of the inner working of the sinusoidal leading-edge and its relationship with the flow field over the propeller.