While one part of the team was busy working on assembling the drone and customizing the code for the FC, another part of the team was brainstorming on how the drone could be made more robust, with our initial objective in mind: to use drones for tunnel vision. Apart from working on the structural integrity of the drone using Ansys, subjecting it to stress, wind pressure etc., fireproofing was an area that we felt work was needed upon. We were in touch with a few people working in the oil and gas industry just to have a proper idea of what the current state of the art in the industrial inspection is and what the industry needs. One of the major inputs that we received was with respect to fire-proofing. PESO or the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization has set certain standards which have to be followed before allowing a system to be implemented in real life oil and gas plants.
Extending the target area from tunnels to coal mines and then to monitor events in these target areas, having the ability to withstand high temperatures without damaging the drone and its system/components would be an added advantage and more likely to be noticed by consumers.
3-D printing the drone with a material with high refractoriness would bring up a contradiction. If the material did have high-temperature resistance, using it to print the drone body would be extremely difficult. If the printing was easy, then the material wouldn’t stand in real conditions. The only way left out was coating it with materials that could withstand heat. One such alternative was the use of Kevlar or Carbon Fibres, which would drastically make the drone more robust: both in terms of strength as well as heat resistance. Also, both of these materials are available in a textile-like form. So basically, we had to drape it over the drone, and voila! No more worries about heat.
“Where was the shortcoming?”, you’d ask. Kevlar and Carbon Fibre are expensive and not easily procurable from vendors. Considering the costs, we are not actually using kevlar but suggesting it as a solution when we pitch our final solution to the industry.