Browse Publications Technical Papers 2020-01-0053

Integrated Electrical UAV Propulsion Design and Testing For High Efficiency 2020-01-0053

This paper covers the design, modeling and analysis of an electric ducted fan system for sUAV (<55 lb) and the verification of predicted performance with test data. Analysis shows that the operating condition of the motor can significantly affect performance and should be considered when selecting or designing a rotor and vice versa. Motor manufacturers usually provide a list of compatible propellers for a motor design with thrust at RPM data coupled with gram per Watt efficiency. However, the gram per Watt value is not constant across the range of operation and a better modeling is needed depending on thrust requirements. Many of the electrical losses can be difficult to calculate directly, such as flux and iron losses in the motor and switching losses in the ESC. Incorporating an estimation/approximation of such losses during the rotor design phase enables a more accurate performance predication and a better overall system efficiency. Two rotors are designed to work inside of the duct and both have identical geometry except for a small blade pitch changes to increase maximum operating RPM from 7,800 to 10,500. The comparison of the prediction with test data shows good agreement and validates the system model. By changing design RPM, total battery power draw was reduced across the entire thrust envelope. A reduction in power draw of about 8-10% in the midrange thrust and up to 12%-15% at higher thrust is observed.


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