A Study of Coaxial Rotor Performance and Flow Field Characteristics
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta United States
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As a precursor to studying the acoustics of a coaxial rotor system, the aerodynamics and flow field of a coaxial rotor were simulated to better understand the interaction between the two rotors. RotUNS, an unsteady Navier-Stokes solver that uses a simplified blade aerodynamics model, was used to predict coaxial rotor performance in hover and forward flight. RotUNS steady hover calculations showed improved performance compared to blade element momentum theory. Prior to examining the complex 3D flow field of a coaxial rotor in detail, two airfoils traveling in opposite directions with a vertical separation distance equivalent to the separation between the upper and lower rotor of the coaxial system were simulated. The pressure field generated by the two airfoils aided our interpretation of the more complex coaxial rotor system flow field. The pressure fields above, between, and below the coaxial rotor system were then examined for different azimuth positions of the upper and lower rotor blades.