Tuning the Impact Response of Drones

Drone SetupThis case study describes the design of a Laminar Jamming Structure integrated into drones, here referenced as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The work was carried out by Narang et al (2018B).




To create a tunable device that can modify the impact response of Drones by adjusting the vacuum pressure applied.


Four twenty-layer 125 mm × 50 mm jamming structures were fabricated. A 3D-printed fixture was designed that cantilevered the jamming structures at 30◦ from the bottom of a UAV, constituting landing gear.  The tests were designed to simulate slow and fast landings of a UAV. It was hypothesized that for a given landing velocity, there existed an ideal vacuum pressure for the jamming structures that would simultaneously minimize peak forces on the UAV while also preventing its chassis from bottoming out (i.e., striking the ground). During each test, the vacuum pressure on all four jamming structures was set to the desired level. 


Among the pressure conditions, the 36 kPa condition was ideal, as it exhibited lower peak forces and a higher decay rate. The preceding results demonstrate that jamming structures can also be integrated into traditional rigid robotic systems to rapidly tune impact responses. Furthermore, given their light weight, high damping force range, and effectively infinite damping resolution, jamming structures may constitute a compelling mechanism for active UAV landing gear