Drones have learned to survive fire and ice: the secrets of the FireDrone drone in a heat-protective airgel suit
Scientists have developed a drone that can fly through flames, saving lives.
Scientists from Imperial College London and Swiss Federal Laboratories developed a drone , which can survive fire or extreme cold. The development will help rescuers in extreme situations.
The skin of the FireDrone drone is made of airgel, a lightweight and durable material used in the space industry. All parts of the drone, including the rotors, are coated with fireproof material containing polyimide, silicon dioxide and fiberglass. Airgel consists of many air pockets within a matrix of polymers and has low density and thermal conductivity. The aluminum outer shell also helps reflect heat away from the drone.
Unlike conventional drones, FireDrone is able to withstand temperatures up to 200 ºC for 10 minutes.
The drone was tested in a special gas flame that simulates a fire. The FireDrone was able to fly through the flames without damage and continue to transmit video. The team also tested the drone in low temperatures and found that it could operate in arctic regions or on glaciers.
The drone is equipped with the following elements:
- flight controller;
- video transmitter;
- optical camera;
- infrared camera;
- CO2 sensor.
FireDrone can transmit real-time data on the distribution of fire sources, the location of obstacles and trapped people. In addition, the operation of the CO2 sensor in the aircraft creates a cooling effect due to the evaporation of the gas.
Experts have shown how you can expand the capabilities of drones in extreme conditions. Such drones can be useful for rescues, surveys, or construction.