DOI: 10.3390/agriculture14030467 ISSN: 2077-0472

Development and Characterization of a Contact-Charging Electrostatic Spray UAV System

Denan Zhao, Simon Cooper, Parmjit Chima, Guobin Wang, Lechun Zhang, Binshu Sun, Xuejian Zhang, Yubin Lan
  • Plant Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Food Science

Utilizing agricultural UAVs for pesticide and insecticide spraying is an effective measure for plant protection. However, achieving effective coverage on the back side of target is often challenging. To address this issue, this study combined a contact-charging spraying system with a UAV to develop an electrostatic plant protection UAV system. Upon activating the electrostatic component, strong electrostatic effects were observed at the nozzle, altering the distribution of the liquid flow; the distribution within the liquid flow became more homogeneous, while the edge regions experienced electrostatic repulsion, leading to changes in droplet size and an increase in droplet density. In the central area, droplet size reduced from 159 μm to 135 μm, while in the edge area, it changed from no value to 120 μm. During field tests using the UAV, the results showed an increase of 1.0 m in effective spray width (at a flight height of 4.0 m), indicating that the charges and propellor wind field contributed to the diffusion of droplets towards the edges. Additionally, the droplet density increased by an average of 19.7 droplets/cm2, and the overall deposition increased by 0.12 μL/cm2, resulting in an approximate three-fold increase compared to conventional spray, which aids in insect control and reduces pesticide usage.

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