Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Sean C. C. Bailey

Abstract

An unmanned aerial vehicle was developed to study turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer. The development of the aircraft, BLUECAT5, and instrumentation package culminated in a series of flight experiments conducted in two different locations near Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA. The flight experiments employed the use of two of the unmanned aerial vehicles flying simultaneously, each containing a five-hole pressure probe as part of a turbulence-measuring instrumentation package. A total of 18 flights were completed with the objective to measure atmospheric properties at five altitudes between 20 and 120 meters. Multiple flights were flown over two days in which the effects of the diurnal cycle on the boundary layer were investigated. Profiles for mean wind velocity, temperature, and humidity all follow expected boundary layer behavior throughout the day. Evolution of the boundary layer can be seen with the early morning, stable boundary layer identified and its transition to the early mid-day convective mixed boundary layer observed. The corresponding increase in turbulence intensity was found to be significant. The success of the test campaign demonstrated the ability of the developed unmanned system to measure turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.404

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