An Experimental Analysis on Propeller Performance in a Climate-controlled Facility


Despite many commercial applications make extensive use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), there is still lack of published data about their performance under unconventional weather conditions. In the last years, multirotors and fixed wing vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, have been studied in wind environments so that stability and controllability have been improved. However, other important weather variables have impact on UAS performance and they should be properly investigated for a deeper understanding of such vehicles. The primary objective of our study is the preliminary characterization of a propeller in a climate-controlled chamber. Mechanical and electrical data have been measured while testing the propeller at low pressure and cold temperatures. Test results point out that thrust and electric power are strongly affected by air density. A comparison between the experimental data and the results of the Blade Element Theory is carried out to assess the theory capability to estimate thrust in unconventional environments. The overlap between experimental data and theory computation is appropriate despite geometrical uncertainties and corroborate the need of a reliable aerodynamic database. Propeller performance data under unconventional atmospheres will be leveraged to improve UAS design, propulsion system modelling as well as provide guidelines to certify operations in extreme environments.

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 of , under Grant Agreement 2223/2017/Project number FESR1048, Creazione di un servizio di sviluppo tecnico per droni testati per il funzionamento in condizioni ambientali estreme, DronEx.

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Correspondence to Matteo Scanavino.

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Appendix A: Propeller thrust experimental data and BET, temperature test

Table 4 Data for PWM = 1175 us
Table 5 Data for PWM = 1563 us
Table 6 Data for PWM = 1756 us
Table 7 Data for PWM = 1950

Appendix B: Propeller thrust experimental data and BET, pressure test

Table 8 Data for PWM = 1175 us
Table 9 Data for PWM = 1563 us
Table 10 Data for PWM = 1756 us
Table 11 Data for PWM = 1950 us

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Scanavino, M., Vilardi, A. & Guglieri, G. An Experimental Analysis on Propeller Performance in a Climate-controlled Facility. J Intell Robot Syst 100, 505–517 (2020).

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  • Propeller performance
  • Unmanned aircraft system test bench
  • Harsh environmental coditions
  • Blade element theory