Title page for ETD etd-12022010-115044

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Couch, Michael Robert
Author's Email Address mcouch@vt.edu
URN etd-12022010-115044
Title Pneumatic Particulate Collection System for an Unmanned Ground Sampling Robot
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kochersberger, Kevin Bruce Committee Chair
Kornhauser, Alan A. Committee Member
Pierson, Mark A. Committee Member
  • Material Collection
  • Jet Impingement
  • Particle Entrainment
  • Particulate Sampling
  • Unmanned Systems
Date of Defense 2010-11-19
Availability unrestricted
The design of unmanned material collection systems requires a great deal of foresight and innovative design on the engineer’s part in order to produce solutions to problems operators may encounter in the field. In this thesis, the development of a particulate collection system for use onboard a lightweight, helicopter deployable ground robot is presented.

The Unmanned Systems Laboratory at Virginia Tech is developing a ground sampling robot to be carried in the payload pod of a Yamaha RMAX unmanned aerial vehicle. The robot’s ultimate objective is to collect material samples from a hazardous environment. The pneumatic system presented here is a novel design developed to collect particulate without draining the resources of the robot. Vacuum samplers have been developed in the past, but they are large and cumbersome and require large amounts of electrical energy to operate. The pneumatic particulate collection system utilizes the kinetic energy from the release of compressed air to transport the particulate to a collection chamber.

Consideration is given to the drop in pressure of the air supply tank as it empties, and a feasible air supply tank design is presented. Two forms of particulate collection are investigated experimentally: jet impingement and particle entrainment (i.e. steep attack angle and parallel flow). Turbulent, free jet characteristics and critical velocities of particles are studied. Ultimately, a final design is presented that effectively collects particulate material from the top 5/8” layer of both thick and thin particle beds.

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