Few modeling approaches exist for cycloidal rotors because they are a prototypal technology. Thus, the purpose of this study was to develop new models for their analysis and validation. These models were used to analyze cycloidal rotors and a helicopter that uses them instead of a tail rotor.
Three different models were developed to study the aerodynamic response of cycloidal rotors. They are a simplified analytical model resolved algebraically; a multibody model resolved numerically; and an unsteady computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. The models were validated using data coming from three different experimental sources, each with rotor spans and radii of roughly 1 m. The CFD model was used to investigate the influence of rotor arms. The efficiency and the stability of the rotor in different configurations were studied. An aeroelastic multibody simulation was used to verify the influence of flexibility on the rotor response.
The analyses suggested that cycloidal rotors can increase the efficiency of a helicopter at high velocities while flexibility reduces it and may lead to instabilities.
These models do not consider the effect of boundary layer friction on the trailing vortices generated by the rotor blades.
These models allow a four-step aerodynamic optimization procedure. First, a range of optimized configurations is obtained by the analytical model. Second, the multibody model refines that range. Third, the CFD model detects eventual problematic blade interactions.
The models presented should serve researchers and industrials looking for a means to measure the performance of cycloidal rotors concepts. The results presented also guide an initial cycloidal rotor design.
The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement N. 323047.
Gagnon, L., Morandini, M., Quaranta, G., Muscarello, V. and Masarati, P. (2016), "Aerodynamic models for cycloidal rotor analysis", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 88 No. 2, pp. 215-231. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-02-2015-0047Download as .RIS
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