Sustainable Drone Innovation by UOW Malaysia Engineering Student

Joyce (middle) with her supervisors for the 2023 Integrated Design Project Short Video Competition’s – Mechanical Category.

Joyce as the 1st Prize Winner in the 2023 Integrated Design Project Short Video Competition’s – Mechanical Category.

Joyce’s innovation on sustainable drone structure which secured 1st Place in the competition.

整理: 伍伦贡大学马来西亚 

Thong Shu Hui, Joyce, a Mechanical Engineering student from UOW Malaysia School of Engineering, became the champion in the 2023 Integrated Design Project Short Video Competition’s – Mechanical Category, organized by Engineering Education Technical Division, IEM. Her groundbreaking project, titled “Design and Development of Sustainable and Lightweight Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone) Structure,” showcased a remarkable fusion of innovation and sustainability.

Under the guidance of supervisor Ts. Dr. Nishata Royan A/P Rajendran Royan and co-supervisor Mr. Chua Huang Shen, Joyce’s objective was to revolutionize drone technology by creating an optimally designed octocopter tailored for contemporary parcel delivery needs. The project incorporated cutting-edge methodologies, including topology optimization and 3D printing techniques, with a focus on sustainable reinforced composite materials.

The design project revealed a comprehensive journey towards achieving an optimized octocopter with enhanced structural efficiency, reduced weight, and heightened sustainability. Joyce utilized Wood-PLA filament, a novel combination of polylactic acid and wood fibres, to create a drone that not only benefits the environment but also significantly reduces weight.

Throughout the project, rigorous testing and material analysis were conducted, culminating in actual test flights that assessed the drone’s performance, stability, and payload capacity. The optimized drone design achieved a remarkable 29.9% reduction in weight, coupled with a notable 31.25% increase in payload capacity, showcasing the project’s success in achieving both efficiency and sustainability.

Despite encountering challenges related to the hygroscopic nature of Wood-PLA during the additive manufacturing process, Joyce’s project sets a new standard for drone technology. By demonstrating the potential of integrating advanced materials and manufacturing techniques, this initiative emphasizes sustainable practices in the rapidly evolving field of unmanned aerial vehicles. Joyce’s work not only stands as a testament to her ingenuity but also as a beacon for future developments in the realm of drone technology.

At UOW Malaysia, the Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering program empowers students to apply the principles of physics and material science to design, produce and operate a wide variety of equipment and systems. Notably, students like Joyce exemplify this application by making impactful contributions to the community through her innovation. For further information about our Engineering programs, visit us at our strategically located campuses in Glenmarie, Selangor, George Town and Batu Kawan, Penang.


2024年 1月 31日





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