For decades, NASA has used computer models to simulate the flow of air around aircraft in order to test designs and improve the performance of next-generation vehicles.
At NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, researchers recently used this technique to explore the aerodynamics of a popular example of a small, battery-powered drone, a modified DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter.
This simulation reveals the complex motions of air due to interactions between the vehicle’s rotors and X-shaped frame during flight. In the video, airflow interactions are shown as undulating lines. Pressure changes are shown using color. Areas of high pressure are red; low are blue.
Video credit: NASA Ames Research Center/NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division/Tim Sandstrom
NASA Ames Research Center is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Follow us on social media to hear about the latest developments in space, science and technology.