Air Particle Separator for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with Combustion Engines


  • Adrian Belmontes University of Texas at El Paso
  • Francisco Medina University of Texas El Paso



additive manufacturing, computational fluid dynamics


Although a significant portion of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) rely entirely on batteries, there are larger UAVs that operate by utilizing internal combustion engines. These special aircrafts ingest vast quantities of air, directly feeding the supply into the engine for combustion. The goal is to design and build an engine air particle separator (EAPS) for UAVs that employ combustion engines, to remove sand, dust, dirt, or any fine particles from the air being supplied to the engine. Although there are many constraints and restrictions to be considered, it is desired for the EAPS to be a single component, have the ability to connect to a specified intake collar, and fit within a given volume. Among other elements considered, the efficiency, pressure drop, areas of failure, and the selection of a material to build the separator were factored. Three methods of particle filtering were selected: inertial, centrifugal, and hypothetical pressure-barrier separation. To accomplish these goals, the principles of inertia, centrifugal forces, and pressure changes were used along with additive manufacturing – to be able to design and build complex geometries. Results were based on the three prototypes that were built and tested in an enclosure simulating the harsh weather environment and the force applied by the internal combustion engine from the UAV. These results showed that a centrifugal design was best suited for the purpose of the experiment with an experimental efficiency of 87% of the particles being separated from the air.


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How to Cite

Belmontes, A., & Medina, F. (2021). Air Particle Separator for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with Combustion Engines. Journal of Student Research, 9(2).



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