College of Aeronautics and Engineering Awarded Cooperative Research Agreement with Army Research Laboratory to Study Unmanned Aircraft Propulsion Scalability
Principal Investigator: Dr. Blake Stringer
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) awarded a $130,000 cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) to Kent State University’s College of Aeronautics & Engineering to study the scalability of quadcopter rotor-motor configurations for large-scale unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Conventional small UAS (< 55 lbs) use variable-speed electric motors with small propeller-type rotors to lift and maneuver the aircraft. The Army has an interest in large quadcopter-type configurations for heavy payload delivery in remote areas. This also falls in line with the payload delivery efforts of commercial entities such as Amazon, although on a larger and heavier scale. As the size of the aircraft increases, the viability of variable-speed electric motors as the means of propulsion decreases. Dr. Stringer along with research assistant, Ms. Kendy Edmonds, will collaborate with ARL to design and construct a UAS propulsion test bench for experimenting with various rotor-motor combinations. Their research will focus on characterizing and quantifying rotor-motor performance, based upon data extracted while simulating aircraft of different sizes.