Princeton University Library Catalog

Cowling and Propeller System Capable of Transitioning from Vertical to Horizontal Thrust

Senior thesis
Martinelli, Luigi [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering [Browse]
Class year:
53 pages
Summary note:
A propeller and cowling system was designed and manufactured to be able to transition from vertical lift to horizontal thrust. In fixed-wing aircraft, this system would allow for vertical takeoff in addition to normal horizontal flight. For multi-rotor drone applications, a system like this would complement its existing vertical takeoff capabilities by allowing the aircraft to have a larger range and traverse distances more quickly. The cowling was 3D printed and integrated into a system that included motors and electronic components capable of controlling the propeller speed and cowling angle. A stand was designed to hold the cowling and measure the vertical and horizontal force components independently. Strain gauges and instrumentation amplifiers were used to do this. The transition from vertical lift to horizontal thrust was then tested at multiple propeller speeds. The results show that as the cowling rotates from its vertical orientation to its horizontal orientation, the lift force decreases linearly and the thrust force increases linearly. This report details the mechanical design considerations for manufacturing the cowling and stand, as well as providing details regarding the system’s overall assembly, testing and results.