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# Momentum Theory

## We saw that the helicopters rotor

provides three basic functions:
Generation of Lift
Generation of propulsive force for forward
flight
Generates forces to control attitude and
position
Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 1

Momentum Theory
The helicopter must be able to operate in a
variety of flow regimes:

Hover
Climb
Descend
Forward flight
Backward flight
Any flight regime that is a combination of the
above

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 2

Momentum Theory
The main goal of the helicopter is its ability to
HOVER
Hover is also the simplest of the flight regimes, so
it should be the easiest to model
Although its the simplest flight regime it is still
complicated enough.

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 3

Momentum Theory
Lets simplify our first approach and develop a
simple method capable of predicting the rotor
thrust and power
Momentum Theory
First developed by Rankine (1895) for marine
propellers and developed further and generalized
by several other authors
Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 4

Assumptions
Conditions in hover:

No forward speed
No vertical speed
The flow field is axisymetrical
There is a wake boundary with the flow outside this
boundary being quiescent
The flow velocities inside this boundary can be quite
high

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 5

Assumptions
Momentum theory concerns itself with the global
balance of mass, momentum, and energy.
It does not concern itself with details of the flow
around the blades.
It gives a good representation of what is
happening from a view far away from the rotor.
This theory makes a number of simplifying
assumptions.
Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 6

Assumptions
Rotor is modeled as an actuator disk which adds
momentum and energy to the flow.
Flow is incompressible.
Flow is steady, inviscid, irrotational.
Flow is one-dimensional, and uniform through the
rotor disk, and in the far wake.
There is no swirl in the wake.

Slide 7

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 8

Conservation of Mass
Air inflow trough control surface 0:

Slide 9

## Conservation of Mass through the rotor

disk
Air inflow trough the rotor disk control surface 1:

## There is no velocity jump across the rotor disk. vi is the

induced velocity at the rotor disk.
Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 10

Hover conditions
In hover Vc0:
The velocity at station 0 is 0
The velocity at the rotor is the induced velocity at the
rotor vi
The velocity at the far field is the induced velocity at
the far field w

Slide 11

## Momentum and energy equations

The momentum rate of change is equal to the applied
force:
The work done per unit time (power) done by the rotor is
equal to the energy rate of change
Eliminating

Slide 12

## Conservation of Mass through the

rotor disk
At control surface 1:

At control surface

And:

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 13

Conservation of Mass

## The far wake induce velocity is twice the induce

velocity at the disk
The far wake area is half the rotor disk area
In reality

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 14

Bernoulli equation
Consider a particle that goes from Station 0
to station
We can apply Bernoulli equation between:

vh

Stations 0 and 1,
Stations 2 and .

## Recall assumptions that the flow is steady,

irrotational, inviscid.

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 15

Bernoulli equation
From the previous expressions we have:
p

Disc

Flow field

p
Pressure

w
Velocity
Slide 16

## Induced Velocity at the rotor disk

We can now compute the induced velocity at the
rotor disk in terms of the thrust T
and

Slide 17

## Induced Velocity at the rotor disk

And the following expression can be obtained:

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 18

Ideal Power
Power consumed=Energy rate flow out-Energy
rate flow in

So:
Or in terms of the induced velocity:

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 19

Disk Loading
Disk loading is defined as the ratio of the thrust by
the disk area:
The expression of the induced velocity at the rotor
can then be expressed in terms of the disk loading:

## Remember that in hover T=W

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 20

Power Loading
Power Loading is defined as:
On the other hand the induced velocity at the rotor
can be obtained from:

Slide 21

## Induced inflow ratio

The induced velocity at the rotor can be expressed
in the following manner:
h is called the induced inflow ratio
For rotating-wing aircraft it is the convention to
nondimensionalize all velocities by the blade tip
speed in hover

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 22

Thrust coefficient
Since the convention is to nondimensionalize the
velocities by the blade tip speed, we can define
the thrust coefficient:

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 23

Power coefficient
The rotor power coefficient is defined as:

## Since the power is related to the rotor shaft torque

by P=Q and the rotor shaft torque is defined by:

## We can conclude that CP=CQ

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 24

## Thrust and power coefficient

The two coefficient can be related using the
momentum theory.

Therefore

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 25

Figure merit
All the previous expression were calculated for an
ideal rotor in an ideal fluid
There is the necessity to calculate the rotor
efficiency
In 1940 Prewitt of Kellett Aircraft introduce the
Figure of Merit

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 26

Figure of Merit
The ideal power is calculated
momentum theory so we can write

## Momentum Theory in Hover

using

the

Slide 27

Figure of merit
Because a helicopter spends considerable portions
of time in hover, designers attempt to optimize the
rotor for hover (FM~0.8).
A rotor with a lower figure of merit (FM~0.6) is
not necessarily a bad rotor. It has simply been
optimized for other conditions (e.g. high speed
forward flight).

Slide 28

## Non Ideal effects

Until now we have considered ideal situation
We did not take into account situations like:

Non-uniform inflow
Tip losses
Wake swirl
Non ideal wake contraction
Finite number of blades

## We can then take into account these factors and

compute more accurately the necessary rotor
power
Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 29

## Non Ideal effects

First lets correct the power coefficient using a
correction factor (induced power coefficient):

## Where is the induced power correction factor

Typical value of is 1.15

Slide 30

## Non Ideal effects

Secondly lets take into account the blade drag:
D is the drag per unit span
Nb is the number of blades
y is the blade element distance to the rotor hub

is:

Slide 31

## Non Ideal effects

The drag force per unit span can be obtained using
the drag coefficient of the section profile

It is assumed that:
Cd0 is independent of Re and M
The blade is not tapered or twisted

Slide 32

## Non Ideal effects

The profile power is:

Slide 33

## Non Ideal effects

The rotor solidity is defined as:

Slide 34

## Non Ideal effects

The actual rotor power can then be expressed as:

## Using the modified form of the momentum theory

with the non ideal approximation for power the
rotor figure of merit can be written as:

Slide 35

R

BR

## Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

A portion of the
rotor near the tip
does not produce
much lift due to the
leakage of air from
the bottom of the
disk to the top
We can account for
it by using a smaller
modified radius BR

Slide 36

## Induced Tip losses

So the effective blade radius Re that produces lift
is smaller than the blade radius R:

## Which is smaller the the actual rotor disk are by

a factor of B2.
Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 37

## Induced Tip losses

There are several propositions to calculate the
factor B:
Prandtl theory

## Helicopters Rotor approximation

Since i (inflow ratio) is small and in hover related to CT

Slide 38

## Induced Tip losses

Empirical geometric calculations:
Gessow & Meyers
c is the tip chord

Sissingh
c0 is the root chord and r is the blade tapper ratio

Slide 39

## Blade Loading Coefficient

The blade loading coefficient is defined as:

## The maximum realizable value is about 0.12 due

to the occurrence of blade stall

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 40

Power Coefficient
We have defined power loading as:

Since
T depends on (R)2
P depends on (R)3

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 41

Power Coefficient
We have already reach to the relations:

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 42

Power Coefficient
We can also write:

## Momentum Theory in Hover

Slide 43

Power Coefficient
Or alternatively:

That is

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