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Lightweight UAV Design: Aerodynamic Analysis and Cost-Effective Manufacturing

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Introduction- Aerodynamic Analysis and Cost-Effective Manufacturing of Lightweight UAV Designs

UAV catapult is a device that is generally used for launching the "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles". In this regard, different types of launching devices have been manufactured for various unmanned aerial vehicles. Due to proper size, the value of ranges, as well as UAV performance, has been grown within several new ways which are being developed for ensuring the safety and cost-effectiveness of the launching procedures. It also covers the recovery system. By seeing the actual requirements of FMTransport as well as affordable conditions and it's head to the result should be light weighted and there is minimum manpower required for operating the launching device. There are major requirements of the possibility which can be set up for launching the UAV within fifteen minutes and it is capable of covering a minor volume. It is considered a vital factor and these are incorporated into a conceptual design regarding the launching device. In this project, a lightweight aircraft will be designed as well as different analyses based on aerodynamics nature can be performed. On the other hand, the total cost of the entire system as well as the maintenance cost also plays a vital factor regarding the commercial point of view. Considering the cord mechanism, for the launching device, it has chosen the bungee cord mechanism.

Aim & Objectives

This project is mainly focused on the adoption of UAV systems and designing a lightweight aircraft as well as analysis of its aerodynamic conditions in terms of bungee cord mechanism launching devices (Katz and Mahomed, 2020). Designing the entire aircraft can be done in the CAD modeling software such as Solid Works and the simulation process also can be done in this platform. For meeting with the actual focus different objectives can be achieved. Different objectives are provided in the below section:

  • To design the lightweight aircraft for minor load carrying.
  • For analysis of the aerodynamic nature of the aircraft.
  • To maintain the minimum cost as well as the maintenance cost also be minimum.

Design Procedure

To design the entire structure of the aircraft there are major requirements of the CAD modeling software. In this project, it has chosen the Solid Work platform to design the entire structure. Different parameters, as well as dimensions, have been considered for designing the whole structure. Different components have been made which include the body, wings, and finally the tail.


For designing the entire body at first Solid Works part modeling platform has been opened. There it is selected as the millimeter-scale for measurements and dimensions. After that, a two-dimensional drawing has been created (BA?KIR, 2020). For making the two-dimensional drawing it has drawn an axis line at first in the front plane. Then using the line command,a line has been made over the axis line where it is also used the spline command for making the curvature in the front side of the body. On the backside, a line has been created with a 60-degree angle that is connected to the total line, and then using the fillet command it can fillet the backside with the dimension of 2mm. After exiting the drawing, it has chosen the revolve boss command, and then it has revolved concerning the centerline which has been drawn initially. Finally, the body has been made and an appearance has been provided. For the body, it has provided the yellowish & red color as the plastic materials.

To make the front glass of the cockpit it has selected the project line from the menu bar of the solid works platform and then it has provided the glass materials to create the front glass. For making the glass it has selected the line command at first and then created the line with the fillet command with 10 mm for making the curvature of two lines where the glass can be made. Then from the menu bar project line has been selected and chosen the aircraft body as the plane and the created drawing from the profile and the front glass has been made.


According to the criteria for wings, the actual length of the parts should be 16 cm or 600 mm. In this regard, the axis line of the body has been chosen and then made the profile by spline command. Using the spline command, the two-dimensional sketch has been made, and then it has exited from the sketch (Jurczyk, 2018). From the features option, it has selected the extruded boss and it has extruded from making the wings. The actual length of the extruded boss was 600mm which is similar to the 16 mm. On the other hand, for making the angular shape it has taken a reference plane on the upper plane of the wings. And then a two-dimensional drawing has been created with line command and a 35-degree angle. Then using the extruded cut command, it emitted the drawn profile which created an angular structure of the wings. Finally, the filleted command has been used for making the curvature backside of the wings and the dimension was around 30mm.


To design the tails of the aircraft, it has followed up similar procedures as wings. In this process, it has also chosen the axis line were using the spline command the profile has been created in the two-dimensional sketch. Then it has chosen the extruded boss command and then extruded around 150 mm for making the two tails of the aircraft. On the other hand, to make the radar it has also selected the axis line and then selected the center rectangle to make the two-dimensional profile (Dlima, 2020). After that, it has chosen the extruded boss command to make the rudder. For making the angular shape it has also created a 2-dimensional profile on a surface by creating the reference plane. Then it has used the extruded cut for making the angular shape. Finally, the chamfer command has been used for providing an angular shape to the front edge of the rudder (icas.org, 2018).


To design the entire structure of the min aircraft the materials selection process is required where the materials have been selected as ABS materials or Plastic materials. On the other hand, the mass of the elastic cord can be neglected and the system is considered as the dynamic system where the UAV, as well as the cradle, can travel linearly on the actual lane. The actual stiffness of the cords will be constant as it depends on the relevant materials. It is also considered that the drag of UAV and the lift force can be neglected for simply the different mathematical equations based on lifting force, drag force, and finally the frictional force. The force of the aircraft or thrust should be content where the thrust reduces and the speeds grow up with mean thrust value constant. Using the ABs or plastic materials it is assumed that the total body weight of the aircraft will be less and the cost will be maintained to design the entire structure.

Analysis & Result

The aerodynamic nature of the entire structure can be analyzed using the CFD platform and it has selected the Solid Works platform to simulate the entire structure. In this regard, the flow simulation approach with air has been performed and the result has been achieved. The below figure can show the pressure contour. This simulation approach has evaluated the pressure contour. The red area can show the maximum pressure has been obtained and the blue region can show the minimum pressure on the structure due to 15m/s velocity of air which has been provided to the X-direction. In this regard, the maximum pressure is around 101551.78 Pa and the minimum pressure is around 101210.21 Pa.

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