More Efficient Helicopter Blades Based on Whale Tubercles

(1) King Philip Regional High School, Wrentham, Massachusetts
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The goal of this project was to increase the efficiency of the helicopter blades on the Double Horse 9053 RC Helicopter by adding tubercles based off those of a humpback whale. Increases in efficiency were determined by measuring the wind speed of control blades at three different speeds and then comparing these speeds to the wind speeds of tubercle-designed blades. The control blades had no tubercles while the tubercle blades had a set of 8 or 4 tubercles per blade. After analysis of increases in wind speeds based off the control, it was found that the 8-tubercle blades often had an increase in speed. The 4-tubercle blades had a decrease in output. The data supports the idea that the number and placement of tubercles matters. This small-scale experiment shows potential for improvements in the efficiency of full-scale helicopters.

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