Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a growing technology used in different industries, and the main platform used for the UAVs is the quadcopter. The rotor of a quadcopter typically operates at low to moderate Reynolds number, so that the aerodynamics and an early prediction of the performance of the propellers are important in the design of the quadcopter. In the present chapter, the performance of a commercial propeller used in quadcopters is analyzed with three different techniques: momentum theory, blade element theory, and computational fluid dynamics. By applying the momentum and blade element theory, it was possible to estimate the thrust generated for a propeller in hover. A computational model based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was implemented and used to simulate a propeller in hover; the model predicts the wake and the thrust of the propeller as well. The results of the theory and computational approximations were compared with experimental measurements of flying tests.
Part of the book: Aerial Robots