Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version

Summer 8-2012


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professors Carl Nelson and Carrick Detweiler. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Brent Griffin


Wireless magnetic resonant power transfer is an emerging technology that has many advantages over other wireless power transfer methods due to its safety, lack of interference, and efficiency at medium ranges. In this thesis, we develop a wire- less magnetic resonant power transfer system that enables unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide power to, and recharge batteries of, wireless sensors and other electronics far removed from the electric grid. We address the difficulties of implementing and outfitting this system on a UAV with limited payload capabilities and develop a controller that maximizes the received power as the UAV moves into and out of range. We experimentally demonstrate the prototype wireless power transfer system by using a UAV to transfer nearly 5W of power to a ground sensor. Motivated by limitations of manual piloting, steps are taken toward autonomous navigation to locate receivers and maintain more stable power transfer. Novel sensors are created to measure high frequency alternating magnetic fields, and data from experiments with these sensors illustrate how they can be used for locating nodes receiving power and optimizing power transfer.

Advisers: Carl Nelson and Carrick Detweiler