Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

An Experimental Investigation of Rotor–Box Aerodynamic Interaction1

[+] Author and Article Information
Dhwanil Shukla

School of Aerospace Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30318
e-mail: dhwanil.shukla@gatech.edu

Narayanan Komerath

School of Aerospace Engineering,
Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, GA 30318
e-mail: komerath@gatech.edu

Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received January 30, 2019; final manuscript received May 22, 2019; published online June 27, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Hui Hu.

J. Fluids Eng 141(12), 121103 (Jun 27, 2019) (8 pages) Paper No: FE-19-1073; doi: 10.1115/1.4043951 History: Received January 30, 2019; Revised May 22, 2019

Multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a promising means of package delivery. Such applications generally involve carrying bulky payloads under the vehicle. Understanding the aerodynamic interaction effects of payloads on the vehicle is the key to design such systems, in the low Reynolds number regime of small UAVs. High-speed particle image velocimetry (PIV), force, and torque measurements have been used with a rotor and a cubic box to investigate the rotor–box interactions and configurations typical of multirotor UAVs. The observed rotor and vehicle performance trends are explained by the mean flow field captured through PIV. Conditions similar to ground-effect operation are developed for the rotor at a high level of rotor-box overlap. A slight improvement in the vehicle performance is observed at conditions where the box is just out of the rotor wake. Some basic instantaneous flow phenomena due to rotor–box interaction have been identified. The interactions have been classified into three distinct modes based on observations at a range of box positions relative to the rotor. An empirical tip vortex trajectory model for isolated rotors is found to be instrumental in predicting the interaction mode at a given box position.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Topics: Wakes , Rotors
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

(a) A labeled photograph of the setup and (b) PIV measurement location

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Rotor performance and load measurement results

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Streamline plots for selected 80,000 Re cases (V stands for mean velocity magnitude)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Instantaneous vorticity contour plots for selected 80,000 Re cases

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Modes of rotor–box aerodynamic interactions based on box position



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