For years, NASA has been using computer models to study the flow of air around flying vehicles, constantly searching for design improvements to further the capabilities of next-generation models. Recently, NASA’s Ames Research Center targeted a DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter in order to test the aerodynamics of a popular, battery-powered aircraft.
The drone’s four rotors generate enough thrust to lift the aircraft and its payload off the ground and into the sky. Now, it’s quite apparent that the quadcopter continually interacts with the surrounding air, but NASA’s supercomputers uncovered the true complexity of this relationship.
The computer model revealed the intricate interaction the drone’s frame and rotors have with the immediate air during flight. Additionally, the inquisitive minds at NASA decided to add four more rotors to the vehicle’s design as a fun experiment. This altered drone almost doubled the amount of thrust compared to the initial results.
Hopefully, the outcome of these computer simulates will help the future designs of multirotor, autonomous flying vehicles. Until then, watch the insightful computer simulation in the video below.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense