student profile: Mr Rens Macneill


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Pitch Angle Control of Small UAV Propellers

Supervisors: Dries VERSTRAETE , Doug AULD

Thesis abstract:

Propellers are the predominant propulsion type utilised by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), especially in the case of smaller unmanned systems. However no viable method of propeller blade pitch control currently exists for small UAVs. This is in contrast to larger propeller-driven aircraft where the use of variable pitch systems is commonplace. The lack of variable pitch capability leads to small UAV propellers having relatively small efficient operating windows, reducing the capability of the systems as a whole.

My PhD research is focused on solving this problem. My work is comprised of modelling, designing and testing variable-pitch propeller propulsion systems for small unmanned aerial vehicles.

My research is supported by an industry sponsor and the University of Sydney’s School of Aeronautical, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering through the Aerospace Engineering Industry-Link Research Program.

I am supervised in my research by Dr Dries Verstraete.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • MacNeill, R., Verstraete, D. (2017). Blade element momentum theory extended to model low Reynolds number propeller performance. The Aeronautical Journal, 121(1240), 835-857. [More Information]

Conferences

  • MacNeill, R., Verstraete, D., Gong, A. (2017). Optimisation of Propellers for UAV Powertrains. 53rd AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Reston, VA, USA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). [More Information]
  • MacNeill, R., Verstraete, D. (2016). Extension of propeller analysis methods to model propeller performance past stall. 7th Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Aerospace Technology (APISAT 2015), Canberra: Engineers Australia.

2017

  • MacNeill, R., Verstraete, D. (2017). Blade element momentum theory extended to model low Reynolds number propeller performance. The Aeronautical Journal, 121(1240), 835-857. [More Information]
  • MacNeill, R., Verstraete, D., Gong, A. (2017). Optimisation of Propellers for UAV Powertrains. 53rd AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Reston, VA, USA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). [More Information]

2016

  • MacNeill, R., Verstraete, D. (2016). Extension of propeller analysis methods to model propeller performance past stall. 7th Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Aerospace Technology (APISAT 2015), Canberra: Engineers Australia.

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