The evolution of materials, their capacities and characteristics for different uses, has allowed the development of numerous applications and this phenomenon can be considered as a silent revolution.
Current aircraft could not exist without the application of materials with characteristics that only a few decades ago we could not have dreamed of.
We have the example of space vehicles such as the shuttle that experiences temperatures of more than 1,200 ° C when re-entering the atmosphere and the materials that cover it are able to withstand these temperatures and cool down seconds later without affecting their resistance.
This has been around for 40 years already, and today we have things like carbon-silicate aerogels, which have been called “frozen smoke,” which are used in everything from tennis balls to spacecraft, and metallic “foams” that They look as if someone has passed an aquarium bubbler through a solid metal block. And we are already hearing the possibilities of what has been called “wonder metal”, metallic hydrogen…and surely this is not the end.
For drone designers, the opportunities to choose and use specialty materials are overwhelming.
The tension generated by the forces inside a drone can be an even more challenging challenge than in a conventional aircraft or even a space shuttle.
We have the example in the Aertos 130IR from Digital Aerolus. Sophisticated Folded Geometry Framework® (FGF®) software adjusts the thrust output between the four rotors with nozzle to not only keep the drone in the air, but also keep its flight stable. 32-dimensional geometry is used (it always caught my attention at university, that practical use could pose problems in spaces of more than three dimensions that, clearly, are not real) so that the Aertos, through mathematical calculations, can achieve stable flights without the use of GPS. But keep in mind that the environment in which we operate is not stable or constant and external forces change, forcing us to recalculate the position and compensation of motor forces constantly, many times per second.
Let’s think that headwinds, crosswinds, updrafts and downdrafts, in addition to the aerodynamic forces of the rotors at more than 10,000 rpm, exert tremendous forces on our drone. They know it well in Digital Aerolus that they have destroyed several pieces of equipment in the tests and trials during the development of the Aertos 130IR. But in each incident we learn and improve, altering different variables, sometimes including the materials used in the construction of the Aertos.
To make this rugged industrial drone, we use laser-cut solid carbon fiber to form the body. We love carbon fiber for its stiffness and strength while also generating lightweight bodies. Trying to find the right materials with the necessary properties to make the Aertos has been a challenge and even more so when it comes to taking into account the latest advances in materials science.
We try to strike a balance between stiff, flexible and strong all at the same time. After all, we are creating a tool to use on the job site, not a toy. But development continues and new versions with features that enable drone operations in more aggressive environments are already being tested. The ability to be rigid where we need it and flexible where it is not.
The future will be the combination of technology, design, and above all, materials.