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Engineering and Technology

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The increase in popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been driven by their use in civilian, education, government, and military applications. However, limited on-board energy storage significantly limits flight time and ultimately usability. The propulsion system plays a critical part in the overall energy consumption of the UAV; therefore, it is necessary to determine the most optimal combination of possible propulsion system components for a given mission profile, i.e. propellers, motors, and electronic speed controllers (ESC). Hundreds of options are available for the different components with little performance specifications available for most of them. By examining a variety of existing long-endurance aircraft, Aero-Naut CAM carbon folding propellers were identified as the most commonly used type of commercial-off-the-shelf propeller. However, no performance data exist in the open literature for the Aero-Naut CAM carbon folding propellers. This paper describes the performance testing of 40 Aero-Naut CAM carbon propellers in 2-blade configuration with diameters of 9 to 16 in with various pitch values. The propellers were tested at rotation rates of 3,000 to 7,000 RPM and advancing flows of 8 to 80 ft/s, depending on the propeller and testing equipment limitations. Results are presented for the 40 propellers tested under static and advancing flow conditions with several key observations being discussed. The data produced will be available for download on the UIUC Propeller Data Site and on the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Database.



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Paper Number

AIAA 2020-2762

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Grant or Award Name

NSF grant number CNS-1646383