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Title:Performance characterization of the multirotor UAS chemical application system
Author(s):Anderson, Adam P.
Advisor(s):Tian, Lei
Department / Program:Engineering Administration
Discipline:Agricultural & Biological Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Unmanned aerial system (UAS)
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
Abstract:UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) have been employed as agro-chemical applicators in agriculture for micro-field applications in Japan, in the form of gas-powered helicopters. A recent surge in battery-powered multirotor UAS has provided a cheaper, more reliable platform that is much simpler to operate. While chemical application systems have been developed for these platforms (mainly in China), fairly little data exists characterizing their performance and identifying ideal operating parameters. The purpose of this project was to attempt to achieve a broad characterization and identify these parameters through collection of spray pattern data produced in a wide array of application conditions. A new test method enclosing the spray system was designed and developed, in an attempt to capture the entire distribution of the spray pattern, and provide information which has not typically been measured. By highlighting important trends that can be applied to similar systems, this information in turn could provide guidelines for the development of future systems in order that they maximize effectiveness through reduction of waste, use of optimal equipment and flight parameters, and minimization of economic loss and ecological damage due to drift and off-target application. The test platform employed was a DJI S1000 octocopter fitted with two TeeJet nozzles ranging from 0.1 to 0.2 gpm flow rate and Fine to Extremely Coarse droplet spectrum range. The findings of this project identified superior coverage density using small droplet spectrum nozzles under the condition that flight height could be maintained at or below recommendations of the nozzle manufacturer (in this case, 0.75 m). Above these heights significant portions of the spray were deposited off-target (up to 50% of droplets) due to downwash outflow, or lost due to meteorological conditions. Droplets in the Medium and Fine spectrum were sensitive to air flow and hence nozzles producing large amounts of these droplets tended to behave less predictably. The more droplets produced under 150 micron, the more uneven the pattern distribution, as these droplets were disproportionately deposited at the edges of, and outside the target pattern area. Nozzles producing droplets in the Extremely Coarse and Ultra Coarse range were robust to downwash effects and meteorological conditions, displaying an average droplet loss of 17%. This nozzle type also allowed for much more significant deviations in height (ranging from approximately 0.3 to 2 m), at the expense of droplet coverage density, but displaying little variation in effective pattern width. This may suggest this system configuration is better suited for site specific application, where flow rate can be increased, or velocity can be decreased to improve density, and maximizing coverage area is not a primary concern. The enclosed system used in the final tests demonstrated an increase in the percentage of the pattern captured when compared to typical pattern measurement techniques, such as those used in earlier tests, highlighting the advantages of this collection method for complete pattern analysis.
Issue Date:2017-04-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Adam P Anderson
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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