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Investigation of rotor downwash effects using CFD
Linköping University, Department of Electrical Engineering.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper is the result of a master thesis project on helicopter rotor downwash effects using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The work was performed at the department of Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics at Saab AB, Linköping in 2008. It completes the author’s studies for a M.Sc degree in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering at the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Linköping institute of technology (LiTH), Linköping, Sweden.


The aim of the project was to study the rotor downwash effects and its influence on the helicopter fuselage. To fulfil this purpose, several CFD calculations were carried out and the aerodynamic forces and moments resulting from the calculations were implemented in an existing simulation model, developed in-house at Saab. The original (existing) model was compared to the updated model by studying step responses in MATLAB, Simulink. For some step commands, the comparisions indicated that the updated model was more damped in yaw compared to the original model for the hovering helicopter. When the helicopter was trimmed for a steady turn, the states in the updated model diverged much faster than the states in the original model for any given step command.



In order to investigate the differences between the original helicopter model and the updated model from a controlling perspective, a linear quadratic (LQ) state feedback controller was synthesized to stabilize the vehicle in a steady turn. The LQ method was chosen as it is a modern design technique with good robustness and sensitivity properties and since it is easily implemented in MATLAB.  Before synthesising, a simplification of the helicopter model was made by reducing states and splitting them into lateral and longitudinal ones. Step responses from simulations with the original and the updated model were studied, showing an almost identical behavior.


It can be concluded that the aerodynamic coefficients obtained from the CFD calculations can be used for determining the aerodynamic characteristics of the helicopter. Some further validation is needed though, for example by comparing the results with flight test data. In order to build an aerodynamic data base that covers the whole flight envelop, additional CFD calculations are required.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 93 p.
Keyword [en]
Helicopter, Momentum Theory, Blade Element Theory, CFD, Rotor-Fuselage Interaction, Simulation, LQ controller
National Category
Control Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-17651ISRN: LiTH-ISY-EX--09/4087--SEOAI: diva2:210922
2009-03-09, Glashuset, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-04-08 Created: 2009-04-07 Last updated: 2009-04-08Bibliographically approved

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