A broad array of UAS monitoring applications is gaining traction, including for instance monitoring crop fields for water content and pests and structural health monitoring of buildings, roadways, and other structures such as the wind turbines mentioned previously. Dr. Ward’s lab is investigating a completely new application: using UAS for autonomous or semi-autonomous application of de-icing spray to commercial aircraft prior to take-off. To accomplish this task, UAS must be able to sustain long-duration flight while carrying the necessary de-icing liquid and spraying hardware. Implementing this idea, though, requires answering many practical questions, such as how to use the downdraft and the placement of spray nozzles to control the deposition of spray droplets by quadcopter-type UAS. The answer to this question requires a robust and novel understanding of how UAS downdraft affects spray patterns in general.
LAUNCH students will develop and test the experimental setup of a spray system consisting of a single rotor (fan) upstream of a spray nozzle. After testing, the students will perform practice trials to collect data for analysis using CCD and high-speed video imaging software already developed in Dr. Ward’s lab. This will be followed by collection and analysis of a series of data sets to determine spray pattern as a function of wind speed.
Project Mentor: Dr. Thomas Ward