The Impact of New Propeller Blade Manufacturing Techniques (STS report)

Henry, Matthew H., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia
Sheth, Pradip N., School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Neeley, Kathryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Weight considerations are a key factor in the design of structural components for aircraft. By replacing conventional metal components with those made of composite materials and using the directional strength characteristics inherent in composite materials, aircraft can be built to have lower operational costs, longer range and endurance, and higher payload lifting capacities.
The Student Engineering Challenge: Airship Project (SECAP) is building the UVA Airship, a remotely controlled, solar-powered dirigible, to race in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in October, 1996. By reducing the weight of the rear-mounted propellers via the use of composite material construction, the lifting capacity will be increased by as much as six percent, or about fifteen pounds. This sort of increase in payload lifting capacity can be applied to a number of airship applications, including commercial transport.
The purpose of this proposed thesis project is to design and build composite propeller blades for the UVA Airship. Both the blade's structure and the process by which it is to be manufactured are to be explored. Consideration of several material, structural, and fabrication options will be carried out and described in the final analysis. Both manual and automated manufacture will be addressed.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
dirigibles, airships, solar power

Other title: Process to Manufacture Composite Propeller Blades for the UVA Airship (Technical report);
School of Engineering and Applied Science; Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering; Technical Advisor: Pradip Sheth; STS Advisors: Pradip Sheth, Kathryn A. Neeley.

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