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Polygence Scholar2024
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Kevin Eng

Class of 2026Short Hills, New Jersey



  • "Flight Performance Improvements for the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter" with mentor Humberto (Mar. 6, 2024)

Kevin's Symposium Presentation

Project Portfolio

Flight Performance Improvements for the Mars Ingenuity Helicopter

Started Nov. 2, 2023

Abstract or project description

This project focuses on the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, namely its rotors and airfoil, CLF5065, and improving their efficiency in its lift/drag ratio (CL/CD), using XFOIL to calculate Lift and Drag under Martian conditions (Re = 1.1 * 10^4). The speed was kept at 0.3 M due to XFOIL not being able to calculate higher Mach speeds very accurately. Out of 3 airfoils, AS6091, outlined in Anand, et. al. (2018) about bird-like airfoils, was chosen to be the most efficient airfoil to replace the Mars Helicopter’s CLF5065 with a peak CL/CD of 14.85, while CLF5065 only had a peak CL/CD of 13.76. Due to the nature of bird-like airfoils and their thin trailing edge, the airfoil was modified to be more structurally sound by increasing the trailing edge gap to 1.5%, slightly reducing the max CL/CD to 14.53. In order to have the edited AS6091 airfoil perform at its max efficiency, the blade was scaled up from the normal size on Ingenuity allowing the airfoil to perform at its peak CL/CD, and produce 6% less drag when hovering. This led to an improved Ingenuity using the edited AS6091 to fly for 6% longer, or carry a payload of 0.1 kg while flying with the same performance as the current Ingenuity.