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Helping Kids understand aerodynamic testing

Aerodynamics Discuss the physics of flight revolving around the aerodynamics and design of aircraft.

Helping Kids understand aerodynamic testing

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Old 07-02-2018, 02:34 PM
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Ron Daniels
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Default Helping Kids understand aerodynamic testing

Hi Everyone!

It's been a while!

Just wanted to share a little project that I've been working on to help some local grade 8 boys get accurate data to test their theories about co-rotating vs counter-rotating vs contra-rotating propellers.

Since I have access to SolidWORKS, a 3D printer a laser cutter and more at work and a mandate to help promote Science among young students, after judging their project in a Science Fair, I invited them to come up to my lab to re-do the experiment with more accurate instrumentation.

This apparatus measures thrust, RPM and air speed.

The plan is to use the servo-driver controlled ESC to set the RPM to a given value and then checking the other parameters. After the twin has been measured, we reverse one of the motors, put a left-handed prop on it and repeat.

They can compare to the single, and then they can re-use the single set-up to test their contra-rotating props.

With everything nowadays being plug and play, it's great to teach kids how to make something from first principles!

You can follow our other cool maker projects @LaurierMakerLab



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Old 07-03-2018, 05:28 AM
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That's a neat project. I teach engineering and incorporate flight into it too. We are getting Solidworks this year. If you have some good project plans for it, I'd like to see them.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:06 AM
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That's pretty nifty. One of those kids is probably tomorrow's engineer.
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:48 AM
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My impression after 3 years in education so far, 1 teaching engineering, is that the talent is there but the opportunity to find it usually isn't. It was common to see high school kids modifying and repairing their own cars, building model planes and other kits, taking things apart and putting them back together, and using all kinds of tools. For boys 2 generations ago, it was just part of being a man. Kids haven't changed since then, but a lot fewer of them have actually done any of those things to develop those skills.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:28 AM
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For 9 years I was the resource person/mentor and pilot for the local university SAE Aerodesign team. What a hoot I strongly recommend it. In the 9 years not a single team member had any RC aircraft building or flying experience but they were like sponges they absorbed everything set in front of them. Then they could apply it. Amazing to say the least. Sometimes we laughed so hard we all had tears in the eyes.

5 students glueing a strip of balsa on top of another, four holding with finger tips one applying the thin CA. Result 4 students all glued to the same piece of wood the look on their faces was priceless.

One book I recommend as an excellent resource is https://books.google.ca/books/about/...MC&redir_esc=y

Videos from the University of Windsor SAE teams.




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Old 07-05-2018, 07:11 AM
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My club hosts the SAE competition in Texas every other year. It's a blast to see what the teams come up with. I'm amazed at the difference in quality between the teams. Some school show up with amazingly well thought out designs that are practical and reliable. Others show up with goofy ideas that 10 minutes of research would have put the brakes on, but they had not been taught to rely on others' experience or ask those kinds of questions so they embarrass themselves.
The most consistently good teams I see are the Polish (University of Warsaw) and the Germans (no big surprise there). The Polish always show up with the weirdest looking planes that you'd say won't ever fly, but they do and quite well. The Germans usually show up with much more conventional designs but they are well built and well thought out.
2 of the worst of the latter variety was the Aggie team who figured out they could use two car engines instead of one aero engine and still be under the displacement limit. They did figure out that 30k rpm wasn't going to work with a prop, so they designed and built a dual gear reduction drive to use both engines to turn one prop. The extra friction and weight of their gear system eliminated any gains they got from the higher horsepower car engines plus some. They never got off the ground. Then there was one of the Mexican teams who designed a bomb drop that couldn't be equipped without the radio turned on and was deep inside the fuselage and very hard to get to. They knew they weren't allowed to turn on their radio until 4 minutes before takeoff, and it took at least 3 to get their bomb attached. It didn't help that they hadn't bothered learning how to start a glow engine. They got beat by the clock on every attempt.
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