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Abstract

Unmanned aerial rotorcraft vehicles have many military, commercial and civil applications. There is a necessity to advance the performance on several ranges of rotorcraft for using these vehicles successfully in the expanded future roles. A lower flight time, noise disturbance and safety issues remain the key obstacles in increasing the efficiency of the rotorcraft for various applications. This work presents the design and realization of a rotorcraft using pressurized inflatable structure filled with lighter than air gas such as helium or hydrogen to provide lift assistance for the vehicle. Two iterative design procedures were developed for designing the vehicle. One is based on the net weight of the vehicle and the other based on the diameter of the pressurized structure. Fabrication of a design based on the diameter of the pressurized structure is analysed and evaluated. Gross static lift, the correlation between the size of the inflatable structure and lift force produced, lifting gas properties in the flight range, stress on the structure, and the maximum achievable altitude is also discussed. The vehicle possesses the potential to overcome some inherent limitations of the current unmanned aerial rotorcraft vehicles. This work holds an excellent prospect for future research and more isolated development in all the applications this particular system can be employed.

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Assistant Professor Aneesh Kumar P, undergraduate students Prajeesh C and Nelson K Samuel of NSS College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering Department for their support and involvement in this work. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

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