Current multi-rotor VTOL aircraft utilize electric propulsion systems to distribute power to the aerodynamic rotors (propeller in most cases) and to control the rotor speed. The current electric propulsion systems rely on electric motors that are heavy and expensive. There is a need for weight reduction of the propulsion system in multi-rotor VTOL aircraft.
Researchers at Purdue University have developed an inexpensive, recyclable hydraulic propulsion system for multi-rotor VTOL aircraft. The propulsion system utilizes hydrostatic transmission, lighter weight, and more reliable option, to distribute prime mover (engine or electric motor) power to the rotors, providing thrust for the aircraft and allowing rapid control of the speeds of the rotors. This provides both aerodynamic lift and attitude control, eliminating the need for an additional moving control surface or weight shifting device and resulting in a more stable flight and more useful load. For the same torque, an off-the-shelf hydraulic motor can be 4 times lighter than the state-of-the-art electric motor (permanent magnetic axial flux).
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Name: Patrick W Finnerty