Fundamental Studies on the Aeromechanics and Flight Dynamics of Large Multi-Copters

This project focuses on modeling and simulation efforts directed at the unique technical challenges faced by large multi-rotor aircraft including complex rotor-to-rotor interactional aerodynamic effects, dynamics and loads of variable-RPM rotors, aeroelastic/aeromechanical stability, optimal control strategies, flight dynamics and handling qualities, and acoustics.  A medium fidelity comprehensive analysis and flight simulation code (RMAC – Rensselaer Multicopter Analysis Code) is developed as the primary analysis tool, but it is informed by high-fidelity computational fluid-dynamics simulations (which can accurately capture rotor-to-rotor interactional aerodynamic effects).  As a performance analysis, loads calculation and flight-simulation tool, RMAC offers a number of options for aerodynamic modeling (dynamic inflow, prescribed wake, free wake) and structural modeling (rigid or elastic rotor blades and booms), and can be used for both understanding of aeromechanics phenomena as well as for improvement of multi-copter designs.

NRTC (VLRCOE program)