For decades, NASA has used computer models to simulate the flow of air around aircraft in order to test designs and improve the performance of next-generation vehicles. At NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, researchers recently used this technique to explore the aerodynamics of a popular example of a small, battery-powered drone, a modified DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.
This simulation reveals the complex motions of air due to interactions between the vehicle’s rotors and X-shaped frame during flight. In the video, airflow interactions are shown as undulating lines; and pressure changes are shown using color – areas of high pressure are red and low are blue.
To see a video of the NASA simulation, click here.
January 19, 2017