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Introduction to Aeromodelling

Last Updated : 17 Feb, 2022
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Someone has ever wondered how airplanes, drones fly? If yes then let’s deep dive into the science of airplanes and drones. Among the most appealing aspects of the course has been the challenge of building planes out of pieces of wood and having the propellers rotate with real engines. Even though Aeromodelling seems to be a topic that’s a lot related to Aerospace/ Aeronautical Engineering, it involves a lot of interdisciplinary concepts – primarily Aerospace/ Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science. Developing these engineering skills through aeromodelling provides a good understanding of their roles in the real world of aircraft manufacturing and provides a great opportunity for innovation.

Aeromodelling

It refers to the activity involving the design, construction, and flying of air vehicles. These models are just small versions of real-life planes. Categorization of models are –

  • Static models

A static model of an aircraft is considered a collector’s item. Models of these aircraft are built and painted for display in museums. The use of static models is highly popular among major airlines to publicize their aircraft. In the early days of air travel, airlines would make large models of their aircraft and ship them to travel agencies as promotional items, with some of the most notable being Delta Air Lines and Air France. Several of these models are among the top collectible model aircraft.

  • Functional models

Those models that fly without having to be controlled from the ground are known as free flight models. Balsa wood is typically used for making these simple “gliders.”Controlling some aircraft from the ground is possible with remote control. Many flying models look like scaled-down versions of piloted aircraft, while others have no intention of looking like manned aircraft. There are models of birds and flying dinosaurs. The flight behavior of an aircraft is dependent on its scale. Scale and speed influence Reynolds number. Scale models often need propellers that are larger than scale, since drag increases at low Reynolds numbers.

Different Types of Aero models

  • Water Rocket 

A miniature of a real rocket. The working principle is Newton’s third law of motion. It works by filling the water bottle partially with water and then pressurizing the inside with air.

Water rocket

Working Principle: At rest, forces are balanced. i.e. Force of gravity and normal force balance each other. In motion, Thrust overcomes the gravitational force and move upwards. Newton’s second law of motion for variable mass and Newton’s third law of motion are used in the concept of water rocket. 

Newton’s 2nd law of motion for variable mass: Newton’s second law states that the rate of change of momentum of a system increases or decreases with applied force. Using this equation,

 m × (dv⁄dt) +  v × (dm⁄dt) = F

For variable mass, it can be stated as,

 F+ vrel × ( dm⁄dt) = m × a

Where vrel is the relative velocity of the mass being ejected with respect to the mass of the center of the body.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Each action in nature is accompanied by a counteraction.

FAB = -FBA

Tools and Materials Used in construction: Plastic bottle (rocket body), fins, fin support, stopper, stopper connector, pump connector, extension tube.

  • Radio-Controlled Plane (RC Plane)

A radio-Controlled Plane (RC Plane) is a miniature of real aircraft. It’s controlled by a handheld transmitter that communicates with the receiver installed within the RC model.

Radio-Controlled Plane

Working Principle: A plane is subjected to four forces during flight. The forces involved are gravity, lift force, drag, and thrust. An airplane’s wing, called an airfoil, is shaped in such a way that the air it passes through is split at the leading edge, crossing at different speeds above and below it, so that it will reach the same point along the trailing edge of the wing at the same time. It is possible to calculate the lift force on an aerofoil with Bernoulli’s principle if the fluid flow behavior around the foil is known. Air moving at a faster speed has a lower air pressure than air moving at a slower speed, according to Bernoulli’s principle. 

P1 + 1⁄2 × ρ (v1)2 + ρ × g × h1 = P2 + 1⁄2 × ρ (v2)2 + ρ × g × h2

Tools and Materials Used in construction: Corosheet for body, Styrofoam for wing, ESC (electronic speed controller), Battery ,Transmitter, Receiver, motor.

  • Glider

The glider is an aircraft that has no engine. It travels by floating in the air. It can remain in the air as long as it is getting lifted by air.

Glider

Working Principle: It is necessary to generate lift on a glider in order for it to fly. Lift is generated by the glider moving through the air. Gliders also generate drag when moving through the air. The thrust generated by the engine of a powered aircraft opposes drag, but a glider lacks an engine to create thrust. Gliders are designed to descend slowly and efficiently. They are thrown by an aircraft to give initial velocity as they don’t have any engine. They also work on the principle of Bernoulli’s principle.

P1 + 1⁄2 × ρ (v1)2 + ρ × g × h1 = P2 + 1⁄2 × ρ (v2)2 + ρ × g × h2

Tools and Materials Used in construction: depron material used for designing, servos, Transmitter, Receiver.

  • Multirotor

Multirotor is a type of aircraft which is having more than two rotors. These rotors help to provide lift and thrust to the aircraft.

Drone

Working Principle: Multi-Rotor operates in power-related mode, which means that when the rotor pushes the air, the air also pushes the rotor back. This is the basic principle that Multi-Rotor can go up and down. In addition, when the rotor rotates faster, the height increases, and vice versa. Fluid dynamics play an important role in rotor performance. The propeller rotation in the air causes various forces such as collision and gravity. the drone operating system is similar to that of aircraft. 

Tools and Materials Used in Construction: Frame, Motors, ESC (electronic speed controller), Propeller, Battery, Flight Controller, Transmitter, Receiver.

  • Helicopters

It is a type of aircraft, which can take off and land vertically. Rotors are used to supply lifts to helicopters. It flies in the backward, forward, and lateral directions. 

Helicopter

Working Principle: As the blades of the helicopter rotate, they produce a force called a lift that allows the helicopter to hover. The lifting force is generated by the main rotor. Helicopters with rotating rotors are more technically complex than vertical aircraft. Tail rot produces a thrust similar to the aircraft propeller. This is called a Torque reaction. Newton’s third law of motion and Fluid Dynamics is used in the working of Helicopters.

Tools and Materials Used in construction:  Airframe, polycarbonate sheeting( windscreen), Motors, Propeller, Battery, Flight Controller, Transmitter, Receiver.

Sample Problems

Question 1: Mary and Goldy push each other with some force. As a result, both moved in the opposite directions. Considering the mass of both people as same. Find the person who went nearest to the starting point.

Solution: 

Both Mary and Goldy will travel same distance as the force acting on both the bodies are equal. Hence

F1 = F2

m1 a1 = m2 a2

As mass of both bodies are equal so, 

a1 = a2

Hence both will travel same distance as acceleration of both is equal .

Question 2: Give a real-life example of newton’s 3rd law of motion.

Solution:

Whenever we stand or sit or lie down we feel nothing. But there is actually an reaction from the ground that counteracts our body weight. The action here is our body weight and the ability to react is a powerful force from the ground to support us. So, newton’s 3rd law of motion is acting between our body weight and normal force from ground or chair.

Question 3: Explain in brief two applications of drones.

Solution:

  1. Delivery of items: Delivery of food and local transportation of goods is done by drones as they are able to carry heavy loads and speed up delivery times. It also reduces human labour and is safe and cost worthy. As it is functioned programmatically so can deliver to the door step and will reduce transportation cost as well.
  2. Photography: As drones can capture images from a good height so it is used to capture the parts of earth where human can’t reach by road. They are even used in wedding photography and many movies. They are also used for science and research.

Question 4: Explain the difference between a water rocket and a combustion rocket.

Solution:

  1. A rocket engine uses heat to create a thrust, while a water rocket uses water pressure to create a thrust.
  2. Since water is 100 times heavier than air, the extracted water produces greater pressure than compressed air alone.
  3. The rocket mixes air and oil to form a fire, which pushes the sides of the engine, while the water rocker presses the water into pressure.

Question 5: Why planes are given streamlined shape?

Solution:

Airplanes and ships have developed elaborate bodies to reduce drag. A well-formed body experiences less resistance when walking on water or air. It helps to reduce friction. Many animals, such as birds and dolphins, and technology, such as airplanes and submarines, have well-organized bodies. These well-organized bodies are called streamline bodies.



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