Date of Award

Summer 8-2021

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Richard Anderson

First Committee Member

Dr. Kyle Collins

Second Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Currier


There are many vehicles being developed which rely on electrically driven propellers/rotors for both control and propulsion. Based on these vehicles, it is hypothesized that there exists a size limit for speed-controlled propellers/rotors in terms of propeller/rotor diameter. To investigate this, a scaling method was created to allow for a vehicle to be created without being based on a specific mission or passenger/cargo requirement. Relationships were developed to size both the physical vehicle and the weight of the vehicle based on the propeller/rotor diameter. A simulation of a quadcopter was created for the vehicle and scaled with both propeller/rotor diameter and vehicle thrust-to-weight. The results from the simulation were then tested on a pass/fail system using three metrics to determine the size limit for speed-controlled propellers. These metrics included turbulence, disturbance rejection bandwidth, motor time constant, and rate requirements. These metrics were selected from historical design requirements and relevant literature. Based on the pass/fail of each metric the overall, size limit for speed-controlled propellers/rotors was determined. The disturbance rejection bandwidth metric was identified as the limiting metric with a maximum propeller/rotor diameter of 5 feet. It was also identified that turbulence and rate requirements are not the limiting cases for this design space.