Design of a static thruster for microair vehicle rotorcraft

Paul E.I. Pounds, Robert E. Mahony, Peter I. Corke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper presents a case study of a design for a complete microair vehicle thruster. Fixed-pitch small-scale rotors, brushless motors, lithium-polymer cells, and embedded control are combined to produce a mechanically simple, high-performance thruster with potentially high reliability. The custom rotor design requires a balance between manufacturing simplicity and rigidity of a blade versus its aerodynamic performance. An iterative steady-state aeroelastic simulator is used for holistic blade design. The aerodynamic load disturbances of the rotor-motor system in normal conditions are experimentally characterized. The motors require fast dynamic response for authoritative vehicle flight control. We detail a dynamic compensator that achieves satisfactory closed-loop response time. The experimental rotor-motor plant displayed satisfactory thrust performance and dynamic response.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)85-94
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Aerospace Engineering
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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