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Off the wall question

Old 03-06-2007, 12:20 PM
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divergoff
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Default Off the wall question

I am currently in a science research class. I want to research air quality and use my R/C plane to test the air at different altitudes. So my question is if anyone has done anything similar? What kind of sensors to use? Basically I just want and excuse to fly my plane during school but I still need data so I pass
Old 03-06-2007, 04:03 PM
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Broken
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Default RE: Off the wall question

Kinda sounds like a fools errand... I understand the desire to fly for a "good reason". But you would need to accomplish so many things just to get X sample at X altitude. If you wish to prove that air quality changes with altitude climb i hill or a building. Part of science is doing experiments without conjuring the ghost of Rube Goldberg.

On the other hand RC models is all about doing things in the name futility and pointlessly wasting time. So you need a clever way to fuse them together. Really it's like building a model with hot glue (you only create the illusion of a completed model).

I would suggest you use the model to create an aerial survey map and do air quality testing at various points of your image/map to show local variations at a constant altitude based on environmental differences of the location.
Old 03-06-2007, 04:23 PM
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Default RE: Off the wall question

All I am going to say is you better have a big plane and some how direct the exhaust so it does not contaminate the sample. There are plenty of air monitors on the market that you could use (research confinded space monitoring) that have wands that could be used as an external pic up. The main issue you are going to have is flight telemetry.

Here is my suggestion for a simple test if you can get the information recorded or transmitted.
Check the O2, CO and CO2 levels at Dawn, noon and dusk for about 4 different altitudes starting at ground elevation.
Old 03-06-2007, 04:35 PM
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sscherin
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Default RE: Off the wall question

Eagletree has the telemetry covered

http://www.eagletreesystems.com/UAV/uav.html

The only hard part should be getting the air monitoring data in sync with the telemetry so you can tell when\where your data was taken.

I hope $$ isn't an issue.
Old 03-06-2007, 05:44 PM
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divergoff
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Default RE: Off the wall question

Well $$ is an issue. It is just an idea. You know last semister of senior year, kinda don't care anymore and just want a fun project. I sure I can find something that I can test w/ my plane.
Old 03-07-2007, 09:32 AM
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Default RE: Off the wall question

Tie a string to your plane. Attach a key to the string. Fly the plane in a lightning stor......

Never mind, it's been done.
Old 03-07-2007, 09:45 AM
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ChuckW
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Default RE: Off the wall question

You might do some research online. I'm sure this type of thing has been done with unmanned (i.e. RC) aircraft and balloons before. Reading about it may give you some ideas and directions to go in. Do you have a university in your area with an environmental or atmospheric science department? If so, someone there may be willing to give you some information.

If that project doesn't work out, you could always devise some sort of aerodynamic test project that would utilize your plane. Even something as simple as determining which prop pitches, blade shapes, etc. give bets performance is science if you record and analyze the results.

It know you say you're looking for an excuse to fly at school but it could really be more than that. Science is fun. Testing, analyzing and proving/disproving things is a very useful skill. If you can combine it with your hobby, even better.
Old 03-07-2007, 09:56 AM
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ChuckW
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Default RE: Off the wall question

Another option to consider if obtaining the air montioring equipment isn't possible, is just proving the concept. You could devise some sort of tests to determine whether a hobby type RC aircraft could be used to fo air quality testing. This could involve just some sort of rig to capture and contain an air sample which is then later analyzed on the ground.
Old 03-07-2007, 10:21 AM
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2slow2matter
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Default RE: Off the wall question

Using an electric motor would eliminate contamination by the exhaust as well.
Old 03-07-2007, 11:16 AM
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Default RE: Off the wall question

Another thought is, rather than trying to capture air samples in flight, which would require a vacuum pump and some kind of activated charcoal filters, etc., you might want to design your experiment around light sensors or something instead. You may be able to use photocells to measure light intensity at various altitudes, which would give you a measure of the clarity of the air, rather than trying to get actual chemical contaminate readings.

You may also be able to so something similar from the ground, by photgraphing your plane at various altitudes, and comparing the color or image degradation as you go higher, indicating the amount of pollution in the air.

Of course, a balloon would probably work better than a plane for these types of things, but I know you are trying to work in the plane angle.

Good luck.

Old 03-09-2007, 12:53 PM
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divergoff
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Default RE: Off the wall question

I'm kinda leaning towards the proof of concept idea. The only problem is that how would you be able to test the sample without contaminating it. As soon as the container was opened the sample it tainted.
Old 03-09-2007, 08:28 PM
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ChuckW
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Default RE: Off the wall question

You might try some sort of sealed container with an inlet valve. While on the ground, you could pull a vacuum on the container and close the valve. The container could then be installed on the airplane with the valve connected to a servo. The servo would be connected to a free channel on the Rx. Once in the air, activate the servo to open the valve and capture a sample. Then close the valve to contain the sample. Once you land the container could be opened by someone with some sort of test equipment.
Old 03-09-2007, 09:33 PM
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Default RE: Off the wall question

I guess you're in college, right... find a 8th grader who can fly.. he'll obviously have a contraption to capture air quality samples already in his parents garage.... get him to do the work... sit back and enjoy a six-pack. Don't think twice about someone else doing the dirty work.. that's what college.. and life.. is all about!

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