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EN137: Spring 2012

BOOMERANG DESIGN:

The aim of this report is to investigate the design of a boomerang which is to achieve flight paths within office spaces, i.e.: (1) fly about someone 10m away and return, (2) hit an object placed on top of him/her. To control the radius of flight, the aerodynamic lift and the gyroscopic precession must be defined according to the lift coefficient, dimension and moment of inertia. Thus different designs are considered to optimize these variables. A cross-shaped boomerang of cambered aerofoil cross-section, with arms of dimensions 15x3.5x0.3cm, was found to be the best design in terms of performance and cool factor.

Presented by: Cedric Chan Karine Ip Marvin Li Visarute Pinrod

Objectives The objectives of this project are to: (1) analyze the dynamics of a boomerang flight, (2) fabricate a boomerang from balsa wood, capable of achieving an orbit radius of 5m or more. Approach Analysis of the physics of gyroscopic precession of the boomerang to predict the orbit radius according to its dimensions; Variation of the arms dimensions to achieve a radius of ~5m; Optimization of lift for such a tight radius, the following design factors were considered: cross-sectional shape, angle of attack, density of material, weight distribution and overall weight; Reduction of drag to preserve flight path Keeping each arm similar so that lift on each arm is the same, thus creating no lay-down during flight path, as lay-down creates flight deviation from normal orbit.1

ANALYSIS Step 1: Rigid-body Dynamics of a Symmetric Cross-shaped Boomerang The boomerang coordinates (x,y,z) rotates at rate about the x axis in the fixed space coordinates (X,Y,Z). The fixed unit axis vectors eY and eZ can be defined in terms of the rotating coordinates, , and t as shown below: eY = (eY ey) ey + (eY ez) ez = cos(t) ey sin(t) ez eZ = (eZ ey) ey + (eZ ez) ez = sin(t) ey + cos(t) ez. For a point A at distance z along one arm of the boomerang, the absolute velocity vector vA is given by vA = vC + rA where vC = -vc eY = vc (cos(t) ey + sin(t) ez) is the velocity of the boomerang and rA = z ez is the distance of point A from the center, and = ex is the spinning rate of the boomerang. Substituting yields vA = -( vC cos(t) + z) ey + vC sin(t) ez.
1

Mauro, John B. "An Introduction to Boomerangs." Www.flight-toys.com. Web. 8 May 2012. <http://www.flighttoys.com/boomerang/downloads/mauro_book.pdf>.

The force exerted on the boomerang is given by the lift force equation FL = c (2v2) A = c*v2L where c is the lift coefficient, is the density of air, v is the air velocity, and A is the area of the planform. c* is then 2cW,where W and L are the width and length, respectively, of the boomerang arm. Setting vA to be the air velocity v, the lift force on an element of width dz becomes dFL = c*( vA ey)2 dz =c*( vC cos(t) + z)2 dz =c* [vc2cos2(t) + 2(vccos(t))z + 2z2] dz. Integrating along the entire arm from L to L yields FL = c*2L3 + 2Lc*vc2cos2(t) in the ex direction. Repeating for the other arm yields FL = c*2L3 + 2Lc*vc2sin2(t) in the ex direction. The moment about the center C due to FL is [zvc2cos2(t) dM = z dFL + 2(vccos(t))z2 + 2z3] dz

= c*

in the ey direction. Integrating reveals the moment on one arm to be M = 4/3 c*L3vccos(t). Repeating for the other arm yields M = 4/3 c*L3vcsin(t) in the -ez direction. Summing forces and moments results in the total forces and moments on the boomerang: FL = FL+ FL= 4/3 c*2L3 + 2Lc*vc2 ex M = M + M =4/3 c*L3vc (cos(t) ey - sin(t) ez) =4/3 c*L3vc er Step 2- Orbit of the Boomerang

Forces acting on the boomerang are: drag, gravity and lift. For a simple orbit analysis, drag and gravity can be neglected such that there is the lift force acting perpendicular to the instantaneous path. This implies a circular overall precession of the spinning boomerang. The spinning angular velocity can be derived as follows:

Equation of motion of spinning bodies:

Substitute into And get

The angular frequency of rotation of the center of mass, i.e. precession, for the orbital path of radius R is given by The precession of the boomerang also implies a rotating path for the boomerang at angular frequency p. This angular frequency and the spinning rate of the boomerang must be the same. Setting the precession angular frequency equal to spinning rate , an expression for * the radius R of the orbit in terms of the quantities c , L , and Ixx can be obtained:

The velocity of the boomerang tip vt at distance L along the arm of the airfoil can be written in terms of vc:

(in the boomerang coordinate) Step 3: Moment of inertia The moment of inertia is calculated by idealizing an arm of the boomerang as a rectangular plate and using the parallel axis theorem.

Therefore,

Substituting m by LWh and equation X into equation W, we have an equation defining the radius of the orbit:

Using c*=1/2air Wc, Therefore, the orbit radius depends mainly on Design Given our material constraints of L<=0.15m, W<=0.076m, h<=0.005m, equation X gives us the following orbital radii for different lift coefficients c and thicknesses h.
with c=0.75 6 5.5 5 4.5 h=0.005m h=0.004m h=0.003m h=0.002m
9 8 7 c=0.5 c=0.75 c=1.0 c=1.25 with h=0.005m

with a weak dependence on the ratio of W/L.

orbital radius R/m

orbital radius R/m

4 3.5 3 2.5

6 5 4 3

2 1.5 1 0.1
2 1 0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35 W/L

0.4

0.45

0.5

0.55

0.6

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35 W/L

0.4

0.45

0.5

0.55

0.6

For our chosen dimensions of L=0.15m, W=0.04m and h=0.005m, a lift coefficient of at least 0.75 is needed to achieve an orbital radius of 5m using equation X. This is feasible at for a cambered airfoil, at an angle of attack of only 2 degrees.2 Our design:

After several iterations, a smooth-bottom cambered profile was chosen as shown above. It was found out to have more lift at low throw speed of 10m/s than a normal cambered profile. Profiles of increasing width of trailing edge further from the center were decided upon, to make the center of mass as close to that of our rectangular plate idealized model. This tapering does not affect the overall lift since Fl V2 and V at smaller radius from spinning center is smaller. . This also keeps average thickness h at a maximum, which is needed to achieve greater orbital radius.

"Lift Coefficient." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Mar. 2012. Web. 08 May 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_coefficient>.