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Blade Element Theory

Blade Element Theory

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to estimate of necessary Power.

This approach is sufficient to size a rotor (i.e.

select the disk area) for a given power plant

(engine), and a given gross weight.

This approach is not adequate for designing the

rotor.

Slide 1

The momentum theory does not take into account

Number of blades

Airfoil characteristics (lift, drag, angle of zero lift)

Blade planform (taper, sweep, root cut-out)

Blade twist distribution

Compressibility effects

Slide 2

Blade Element Theory (BET) was first proposed by

Drzwiecki in 1892 for the analysis of airplane propeller.

BET assumes that each blade section acts as a two

dimensional airfoil to produce aerodynamic forces

The blade is then divided in non-interacting sections

where all the computations are performed using 2-D

aerodynamics

An integration over the blade length gives the total thrust

and total power

Slide 3

BET Model

Slide 4

BET Model

The out of plane Velocity UP=VC+vi

Therefore the total velocity is

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 5

BET model

The relative inflow angle:

effective angle of attack is:

Slide 6

BET model

The incremental lift per unit span:

The incremental drag per unit span:

Or in quantities parallel and perpendicular to the

rotor disk plane:

Slide 7

BET model

We can then calculate the Thrust:

The Torque

The Power

Remember Nb is the number of blades

Slide 8

BET model

And we can relate all three with Cl and Cd

Slide 9

The following assumptions are valid within the

helicopter aerodynamics

Slide 10

Basic Equations

The expression for Thrust, Torque and Power are:

and for speed Vtip=R

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 11

Nondimensional form

r=y/R

UT/R= y/ R=y/R=r

And the thrust, torque and power coefficients

already defined:

Slide 12

Substituting the previous equations in the Thrust

coefficient equation:

Slide 13

Using the same analysis for the Power coefficient

Slide 14

To find the total blade contribution for Thrust and

power we have on integrate between the root and

tip of the blade

For the torque and power coefficient

Slide 15

Inflow ratio = (r)

Lift coefficient Cl=Cl(,Re,M)

Drag coefficient Cd=Cd(,Re,M)

AOA = (VC,,vi)

Induced Velocity vi=vi(r)

Numerical Solution needed

Slide 16

Approximations

With certain assumptions and approximations it is

possible to find closed form analytical solutions.

The solutions are important because they serve to

illustrate the fundamental form of the results in

term of operational and geometric parameters of

the rotor

Lets the assume a rectangular blade c=const.

From the definition =const. too.

Slide 17

Thrust approximation

From the Steady linearized aerodynamics:

We can consider

constant without serious loss

of accuracy

Lets also assume symmetric airfoils 0=0

We can then write:

Slide 18

Untwisted Blades

For a blade with zero twist =const.= 0.

Lets also assume uniform inflow velocity, as

assumed in the momentum theory =const.

The Thrust coefficient can be written as:

Slide 19

Uniform inflow

Lets use the result from the momentum theory

So the thrust coefficient is:

Slide 20

Slide 21

inflow

Lets now assume that we have a linear twist,

common practice in helicopter blades:

Substituting in the CT equation:

Slide 22

inflow

If the reference blade pitch angle is taken a 3/4 radius (0.75) then

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 23

Power approximations

We have seen that the incremental power

coefficient (that is equal to the torque coefficient):

Remembering that

Slide 24

Power approximations

Therefore the total power:

Using once more the inflow expression obtained in

hover:

Expression already obtained in the momentum

theory

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 25

FM for BET

blade area) leads to higher Power consumption, and

lower FM.

Low drag Airfoils leads to higher FM

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Slide 26

The average Lift coefficient is defined to give the

same thrust coefficient when the blade is

operating at the same local lift coefficient

(optimum rotor):

Or

Typically

0.8.

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

Blade Element Theory

Slide 27

We can now introduce the last expression on the

FM equation already obtained:

FM is maximized if

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha

is minimized

Slide 28

We can assume that the outer portion of the blade

(R-Re=R-BR) does not produce lift. Therefore the

thrust coefficient is:

Slide 29

For a twisted blade (=tip/r):

to 10% reduction in rotor thrust.

Lets now assume that instead of having the blade

tip not carrying any lift, lets see its effect of the

induced inflow velocity:

Slide 30

Since the influence is a increase of by B-1 we can

substitute in the equations obtained for no tip

losses:

Untwisted blades and uniform inflow

Slide 31

Comparing with the results obtained earlier we see

that these overpredict the effect of tip losses.

Performing the same calculation for the power

coefficient

Slide 32

Slide 33

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