• Drone-Assisted Confined Space Inspection and Stockpile Volume Estimation

      Alsayed, Ahmad; orcid: 0000-0003-1060-066X; email: ahmad.alsayed@manchester.ac.uk; Yunusa-Kaltungo, Akilu; orcid: 0000-0001-5138-3783; email: akilu.kaltungo@manchester.ac.uk; Quinn, Mark K.; orcid: 0000-0001-5788-4837; email: mark.quinn@manchester.ac.uk; Arvin, Farshad; orcid: 0000-0001-7950-3193; email: farshad.arvin@manchester.ac.uk; Nabawy, Mostafa R. A.; orcid: 0000-0002-4252-1635; email: mostafa.ahmednabawy@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-08-24)
      The accuracy of stockpile estimations is of immense criticality to process optimisation and overall financial decision making within manufacturing operations. Despite well-established correlations between inventory management and profitability, safe deployment of stockpile measurement and inspection activities remain challenging and labour-intensive. This is perhaps owing to a combination of size, shape irregularity as well as the health hazards of cement manufacturing raw materials and products. Through a combination of simulations and real-life assessment within a fully integrated cement plant, this study explores the potential of drones to safely enhance the accuracy of stockpile volume estimations. Different types of LiDAR sensors in combination with different flight trajectory options were fully assessed through simulation whilst mapping representative stockpiles placed in both open and fully confined areas. During the real-life assessment, a drone was equipped with GPS for localisation, in addition to a 1D LiDAR and a barometer for stockpile height estimation. The usefulness of the proposed approach was established based on mapping of a pile with unknown volume in an open area, as well as a pile with known volume within a semi-confined area. Visual inspection of the generated stockpile surface showed strong correlations with the actual pile within the open area, and the volume of the pile in the semi-confined area was accurately measured. Finally, a comparative analysis of cost and complexity of the proposed solution to several existing initiatives revealed its proficiency as a low-cost robotic system within confined spaces whereby visibility, air quality, humidity, and high temperature are unfavourable.
    • Scalability of resonant motor-driven flapping wing propulsion systems

      Nabawy, Mostafa R. A.; orcid: 0000-0002-4252-1635; email: mostafa.ahmednabawy@manchester.ac.uk; Marcinkeviciute, Ruta (The Royal Society, 2021-09-22)
      This work aims to develop an integrated conceptual design process to assess the scalability and performance of propulsion systems of resonant motor-driven flapping wing vehicles. The developed process allows designers to explore the interaction between electrical, mechanical and aerodynamic domains in a single transparent design environment. Wings are modelled based on a quasi-steady treatment that evaluates aerodynamics from geometry and kinematic information. System mechanics is modelled as a damped second-order dynamic system operating at resonance with nonlinear aerodynamic damping. Motors are modelled using standard equations that relate operational parameters and AC voltage input. Design scaling laws are developed using available data based on current levels of technology. The design method provides insights into the effects of changing core design variables such as the actuator size, actuator mass fraction and pitching kinematics on the overall design solution. It is shown that system efficiency achieves peak values of 30–36% at motor masses of 0.5–1 g when a constant angle of attack kinematics is employed. While sinusoidal angle of attack kinematics demands more aerodynamic and electric powers compared with the constant angle of attack case, sinusoidal angle of attack kinematics can lead to a maximum difference of around 15% in peak system efficiency.