SimScale helps Drone Enthusiasts around the World to Take Off

Nathan Kau Drone Design animated gif

Background and Concept of the Drone Workshop

It has become tradition apparently: One of my best experiences at work is still to organize, execute and support our famous workshops. After two workshop series about Formula 1 at the beginning of this year, we offered a new workshop series about drone design.

The workshop series took place once a week from October 15th until November 5th. In contrast to our former workshops, this time we focused on makers and those who want to design or modify their own drone design.

During the 4th session, the participants investigated different development areas of an existing drone design from both perspectives – real world and simulation. The design was provided by Nathan Kau – a very talented young engineer, drone designer and high school student.


The first session was about the optimization of the propeller. We investigated two different designs which differentiate the propeller’s shape and pitch as well as its housing. A particularly conspicuous aspect is the dependency of the lift force from the pitch angle.

External Aerodynamics of a drone cfd simulation

The second session of the workshop introduced our users to structural simulations of assemblies which can be very challenging. The participants were introduced to the fundamentals of FEA and some advanced features like contact definition, ramping and the influence of mesh refinement on the simulation result. From the designer’s perspective, we discussed how the load of the propeller will deform the drone’s arm.

Deformation of the drone's arm, drone structural analysis fea simulation von mises stress

Constructing on the knowledge of the previous sessions, in the third session of the workshop we talked about virtual drop crash simulations. In contrast to the simulation which we set up before, a virtual crash test is a full transient simulation. Simulating the impact of the drone for several velocities helped us understand the critical falling velocity for our design.

Drone simulation with SimScale - drop test analysis simulation

Finally, in the fourth session, we investigated the impact of vibrations which can have a negative influence regarding the stiffness and the maneuverability. The engine can cause periodic simulations since it contains a rotating body.

Drone simulation drop test analysis with fea software

Thank you all for participating in our drone workshop and stay tuned. We have many more challenges for you!


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