Propulsion Testing with a Wind Tunnel at the University of Ottawa

Eric Lanteigne, associate professor at the University of Ottawa, is working with his students to test motors and propellers for their hybrid power plant airship project. Their goal is to characterize and measure thrust, torque, electrical power and mechanical power at various airspeeds. The actual tests were performed in this wind tunnel (figure 1).

Further reading: Wind Tunnel Testing for Drones

Wind tunnel University of Ottawa
Figure 1: Wind tunnel test facility at the University of Ottawa

We had the pleasure of visiting their testing facilities at the University of Ottawa in 2016. The day we visited, they performed some tests in a smaller wind tunnel to verify that their system was working as expected. They added a 3D printed extension to the RCbenchmark Series 1580 motor mount to recreate the airflow restrictions that will be seen on their airship (figure 2).

1580 test stand being setup in the wind tunnel
Figure 2: The Series 1580 test stand with extension being setup in the wind tunnel

They also used a pitot tube to obtain an estimate of airflow. The overall setup was very fast. They were ready to obtain results in less than 20 minutes (figure 3).

RCbenchmark software records test stand data

Figure 3: Testing and data recording with the RCbenchmark software

Since our visit, Dr. Lanteigne’s lab has presented their research in various publications and has expanded their scope to include more UAV design and modelling.

Further reading: Comparing UAV Power System Architectures

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