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Aerodynamic design and optimization of propellers for multirotor

Witold Artur Klimczyk (Department of Aerodynamics, Łukasiewicz Research Network- Institute of Aviation, Warsaw, Poland)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 10 June 2021

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a methodology of designing a custom propeller for specified needs. The example of propeller design for large unmanned air vehicle (UAV) is considered.

Design/methodology/approach

Starting from low fidelity Blade Element (BE) methods, the design is obtained using evolutionary algorithm-driven process. Realistic constraints are used, including minimum thickness required for stiffness, as well as manufacturing ones – including leading and trailing edge limits. Hence, the interactions between propellers in hex-rotor configuration, and their influence on structural integrity of the UAV are investigated. Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) are used to obtain loading on the propeller blades in hover. Optimization of the propeller by designing a problem-specific airfoil using surrogate modeling-driven optimization process is performed.

Findings

The methodology described in the current paper proved to deliver an efficient blade. The optimization approach allowed to further improve the blade efficiency, with power consumption at hover reduced by around 7%.

Practical implications

The methodology can be generalized to any blade design problem. Depending on the requirements and constraints the result will be different.

Originality/value

Current work deals with the relatively new class of design problems, where very specific requirements are put on the propellers. Depending on these requirements, the optimum blade geometry may vary significantly.

Keywords

Citation

Klimczyk, W.A. (2021), "Aerodynamic design and optimization of propellers for multirotor", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-12-2020-0288

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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