St Philomena’s Catholic High School 2016

Tara Kheradmand, Rebecca Lewis-Braithwaite, Louise Weightman

‘quadcopter’

Their story, in their words….

“Over the summer we began the challenge of constructing a quadcopter. This is a machine with a metal frame, and four motors attached to each arm, allowing it to fly when the battery is connected. The motors operate by spinning two propellers clockwise and two others anticlockwise ensuring that there is a conservation of momentum and there will be an overall thrust making the machine rise.

We wanted to take on this challenge as we are all aspiring physicists, wanting to pursue similar topics at university and in future careers. This project involved us utilising our practical skills -a topic we find challenging- that are included in our course and allowed us to research outside information outside of the syllabus. In constructing the quadcopter we were able to examine the electronic systems in place including the brushless motors which were a useful case study for our school work on electromagnetic fields.

To begin this task we initially built the frame of the quadcopter and meet our first challenge. We had no instructions for undertaking the project, the closest alternative we had was a picture of the basic frame with instructions in Chinese. This meant we had to freestyle the electronics and coding as there was no available aid online. However, the benefit of this was that we were able to learn more in depth about how the components worked, such as the flight control board and the ESCs. It also gave us a more intellectually stimulating experience as we had to complete the work with no assistance.

In the process of coding the quadcopter we had to downloaded the software from a site which then allowed us to experiment with making it completely autonomous. This is a situation in which the quadcopter is not controlled by
a transmitter, by instead by a set of precoded instructions.

In conclusion this has been a valuable challenge, testing in us in our abilities of coding, electronics and teamwork. Throughout this process we have grown as physicists, expanding on our knowledge and practical skills
abilities. In addition to this it has taught us the importance of time management as simultaneously juggling this project with school work was challenging. We thoroughly enjoyed this challenge and are extremely grateful
for the Mark Evison Foundation who provided this opportunity.”