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Ducted Prop for STOL Paper

Ducted Prop for STOL Paper



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Published by: api-3725874 on Oct 15, 2008
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by virtue of its high lift also possesses high
induced drag, which must be overcome by means of
a propulsion unit capable of developing high

thrust at low speeds.Since theducted propel-

ler possesses this feature of developing high
thrust at the low forward speeds at which STOL
airplanes utilizing high lift boundary layer con-

trol fly, it permits matching thepropulsorto
the airplane without resorting to the usual
approach of merely adding a larger engine.
However, wheno n e considers theducted pro-
peller as a tractor, the idea is immediately
thrown out, for the duct acts as a considerable
destabilizing element in yaw. This consideration
thenautomatically dictates that theducted pro-

peller be arranged in a pusher configuration. Arrangedthusly, the duct can also be used as the stabilizing element, as suggested by

Kuchemann and Weber.3
Concept of High Thrust Combined with High Lift
Assuming that one designed aductedpropel-

ler to develop a thrust equal to the weight of
the aircraft, the question then comes up of whe-
ther it would not be more feasible to use this
thrust to lift the airplane.One can easily re-
solve this aspect by computing the take-off speed

attainable with distributed suctionboundary-
layer control.With the already attained low
stall speed of 35 mph, the take-off run with
thrust equal to the airplane's weight comes to
a mere 41 ft.
The climb-out with such a high thrust would
be almost vertical.
However,one does not need to attain as
high a thrust-to-weight ratio as unity.E x c e l -
lent performance can be obtained with values be-
tween 0.6 and 0.8.Such values can be attained
with engines of nominal powers of the order of
250 hp for a two-seater airplane grossing 2200
Since the duct acts as a stabilizing sur-
face both for pitch and for yaw, it is also
feasible to Include control surfaces in the
duct's after-section, thus providing yaw and
Pitch control.
Aerodynamics of High-Lift STOL Airplanes
It was mentioned previously that high lift
implies high induced drag, and that this high
induced drag necessitates highthrust at low
InFig.2, are shown flight-testmeasure-
Kuchemannand Weber,'Aerodynamics of Propul-
sion,"McGraw-HillBook Co., Inc., New York, N.Y.,
ments of the climb-out angle of a Piper Super
Cub, which has been fitted with a distributed
suction high-lift system.
It will be seen that

the maximum climb-out angle is obtained with a flap deflection ofl/3, and that this climb-out occurs at an airspeed of 48 mph. Yet this air-

plane is capable of flying stably and under con-
trol down to a speed as low as26mph.
What these flight-test data clearly show is
the need for better propulsion at low speeds on
this airplane.Obviously, if this better pro-

pulsion can be achieved without increasing the
horsepower of the engine, the airplane's design
will not suffer a vicious spiral ending in a
much larger airplane due to the larger gasoline

requirement and higher weight requirementofthe
larger engine.
Design Considerations forDucted Propellers
Obviously, aducted propeller must be de-
signed with two features In mind:
1 It must provide high thrust at low
2 It must not possess a high dragin cruis-
What these considerations imply is that
the thickness of the ductc r o s s section must be
kept as small as possible without loss of static
Theu s u a l solution to this problem has been
to use a bell-mouth entry for the duct and then
complain about the high drag of thisc o n f i g u r a -
tion, or else to try to make a variable geometry
inlet as was suggested byKruger.2

However, recent studies of viscous flows
on curvedwalls4 have led to an understanding of
the nature of the flow separation on the inlet


The usual criteria forlaminar separation of viscous flows in adverse pressure gradients completely neglect the effects of centrifugal

forces,tending to throw the flow away from the
wall.Infact, all of the laminar-separation
criteria are based on flat-plate flows.
When the centrifugal forces are given con-
sideration, as they must be for violently curved
flows, these simple criteria are not valid.
As an example of a strongly curved flow,
let us look at Fig.3.The data forthis figure
were obtained in flight with a sailplane having
4Mathur, ManeshwarChandra,"A New Simplified
Form of Navier-Stokes Equations for Curvilinear
Flows."Mississippi State University,Aerophys-
ics Department, Research Report No. 24, May 30,

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