The propellers found fitted to commercial drones are what is known as fixed-pitch propellers.
The physics behind them is simple. The propeller blades spin through a motor which causes wind to be blown in a downward motion – causing lift. When the propellers spin at a fast enough RPM, it creates enough lift for the drone to take off and gain altitude. In the exact same way, when the propellers spin at a lower RPM, it causes the drone to loose altitude.
The design of drone propellers is not universal. There are hundreds of recorded propeller designs in the world. Why? Because different aerial vehicles require different functionality. The shape and chord length of the propellers aerofoil (along with the angle) helps to create different lift and drag results. The more curved the aerofoil and larger the propeller blade angles, the more lift can be created. But this comes at a cost. More drag and a lower efficiency.
Drone propeller design is calculated by the needs of the drone. The propeller blades need to create enough lift to carry a set ‘payload’ which generally consists of camera and visual capturing equipment such as thermal imaging cameras. It must be big enough that the drone can gain enough altitude to record the necessary inspections at the required height. And it must create an efficient spin that does not create too much drag that can cause the drone to stall mid air or burn through its electric battery pack too quickly.
It may seem obvious but the longer a drone blade is, the more left it can generate and, depending on the blade design, increased efficiency. However the longer a blade is, the slower the drone can be to respond due to inertia movement. A smaller propeller blade can create faster reacting movements. Striking the balance is key to successful drone inspection work.
What are drone propellers made from?
While there are hundred of different propeller blade designs, there are a few common drone propeller blade materials to choose from. The two most common blade materials for commercial drones like the ones we used from DJI are more from Fibre Glass Composites or Carbon Fibre Composites. Carbon fibre blades are an ideal choice because, thanks to their strength, create less vibration while being lighter and stronger than fibre glass.
From the material to the propeller design, drone blades are a vital part of the overall drone capabilities. Getting the right balance helps us to offer greater efficiency, extended battery life and smoother hovering flight patterns which are vital for stable photography and video inspection work.
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We provide award winning drone survey and inspection services across the UK with the latest in commercial drone inspection UAV technology. Our team of fully qualified drone pilots can provide visual indoor, outdoor and underwater drone surveys with HD video, thermal imaging and photography media. The significant cost and time savings of drone surveys means that they are a genuine alternative to conventional inspection methods and are fast becoming the number 1 method of conducting scheduled visual inspections on key assets, utilities and infrastructure.
To meet the growing demand for drone surveys, we are constantly expanding our fleet of aerial drones to meet our customers needs and offer the very best in drone services across Scotland and the North of England.
At Balmore, we offer the expertise of four decades in difficult access works including roofing, rope access, industrial cleaning and drone inspection services. Our one stop shop approach to inspection, repair and cleaning has grown through our desire to constantly exceed our clients expectations and offer a service that is far superior to our competitors.