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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2022

Lionel Dongmo Fouellefack, Lelanie Smith and Michael Kruger

A hybrid-electric unmanned aerial vehicle (HE-UAV) model has been developed to address the problem of low endurance of a small electric UAV. Electric-powered UAVs are not…

Abstract

Purpose

A hybrid-electric unmanned aerial vehicle (HE-UAV) model has been developed to address the problem of low endurance of a small electric UAV. Electric-powered UAVs are not capable of achieving a high range and endurance due to the low energy density of its batteries. Alternatively, conventional UAVs (cUAVs) using fuel with an internal combustion engine (ICE) produces more noise and thermal signatures which is undesirable, especially if the air vehicle is required to patrol at low altitudes and remain undetected by ground patrols. This paper aims to investigate the impact of implementing hybrid propulsion technology to improve on the endurance of the UAV (based on a 13.6 kg UAV).

Design/methodology/approach

A HE-UAV model is developed to analyze the fuel consumption of the UAV for given mission profiles which were then compared to a cUAV. Although, this UAV size was used as reference case study, it can potentially be used to analyze the fuel consumption of any fixed wing UAV of similar take-off weight. The model was developed in a Matlab-Simulink environment using Simulink built-in functionalities, including all the subsystem of the hybrid powertrain. That is, the ICE, electric motor, battery, DC-DC converter, fuel system and propeller system as well as the aerodynamic system of the UAV. In addition, a ruled-based supervisory controlled strategy was implemented to characterize the split between the two propulsive components (ICE and electric motor) during the UAV mission. Finally, an electrification scheme was implemented to account for the hybridization of the UAV during certain stages of flight. The electrification scheme was then varied by changing the time duration of the UAV during certain stages of flight.

Findings

Based on simulation, it was observed a HE-UAV could achieve a fuel saving of 33% compared to the cUAV. A validation study showed a predicted improved fuel consumption of 9.5% for the Aerosonde UAV.

Originality/value

The novelty of this work comes with the implementation of a rule-based supervisory controller to characterize the split between the two propulsive components during the UAV mission. Also, the model was created by considering steady flight during cruise, but not during the climb and descend segment of the mission.

Details

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1748-8842

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 October 2013

Lelanie Smith, Oliver Oxtoby, A. Malan and Josua Meyer

– The purpose of this paper is to introduce a unique technique to couple the two-integral boundary layer solutions to a generic inviscid solver in an iterative fashion.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a unique technique to couple the two-integral boundary layer solutions to a generic inviscid solver in an iterative fashion.

Design/methodology/approach

The boundary layer solution is obtained using the two-integral method to solve displacement thickness point by point with a local Newton method, at a fraction of the cost of a conventional mesh-based, full viscous solution. The boundary layer solution is coupled with an existing inviscid solver. Coupling occurs by moving the wall to a streamline at the computed boundary layer thickness and treating it as a slip boundary, then solving the flow again and iterating. The Goldstein singularity present when solving boundary layer equations is overcome by solving an auxiliary velocity equation along with the displacement thickness.

Findings

The proposed method obtained favourable results when compared with the analytical solutions for flat and inclined plates. Further, it was applied to modelling the flow around a NACA0012 airfoil and yielded results similar to those of the widely used XFOIL code.

Originality/value

A unique method is proposed for coupling of the boundary layer solution to the inviscid flow. Rather than the traditional transpiration boundary condition, mesh movement is employed to simulate the boundary layer thickness in a more physically meaningful way. Further, a new auxiliary velocity equation is presented to circumvent the Goldstein singularity.

Details

International Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow, vol. 23 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0961-5539

Keywords

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