Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Professor Emeritus Charles Eastlake

First Committee Member

Professor Snorri Gudmundsson

Second Committee Member

Dr. Bogdan Udrea

Abstract

The purpose of this work was to create a six degree of freedom balance that could produce meaningful data for micro aerial vehicles. Research was conducted to investigate the common balance configurations, and the strengths and weaknesses of each configuration were used to select the most appropriate design. The limitations of available fabrication facilities, the desired level of performance and the end user of the balance were all considered to finalize the design. The balance and data acquisition system were fabricated over a period of several months, and unforeseen design issues were handled forthwith. Rigorous calibration and testing processes were conducted. The results of the calibration and testing processes were analyzed and documented. The performance of the balance was determined to be less than traditionally recommended, but was acceptable due to the small magnitude of the loads. Further testing is recommended to determine if performance improves as the balance settles.

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