Circulation Theory of Propellers
r = radius vector drawn from O to any point in the field
v = velocity at any point, which is everywhere normal to radius vector

3. An inner streamline of radius r o can be considered as representing the wall of a cylinder whose axis is normal to the plane of the flow and around which the fluid circulates.

4. When the radius is very small, we have what is known as a vortex tube or filament

5. Vortex filaments in ideal fluids have interesting properties, among which may be mentioned that any
given vortex filament is permanently composed of the same fluid particles and that it cannot terminate abruptly
in the interior of the fluid but must either return on itself
or terminate on the boundary of the fluid region. 6. If the cylinder is placed in a uniform stream in such an
ideal fluid, but without any such circulation flow, the streamlines will be symmetrical and no force will be exerted upon the cylinder.
7. If now a circulation flow is imposed around the cylinder, the flow pattern becomes asymmetrical.
9. This asymmetry of velocity distribution gives rise to a similar asymmetry in pressure distribution, the pressure at F being greater than that at E.
angles to the direction of the uniform stream flow.
in a stream is called the Magnus effect
Mathematical concept of circulation
and let
be a vector at the point P on the curve which
makes the angle ξ with the direction of the line element .
the line integral Γ is called the circulation
curve does not surround the origin O, but has the
constant value 2πc when the curve surrounds the origin.
any curve whatsoever.

7. In order to evaluate this integral, we replace the chosen curve by a stepped line consisting of short radial lines and circular arcs.

8. The integration along the radial lines contributes nothing to the final value, since the line element and the velocity vector are normal to each other, and consequently cos (ξ ) is zero.

9. The integration along the circular arcs, however, yields
a definite value, since in this case
is unity.
the integral along the arbitrarily chosen curve
where ψ o is the angle included between the radii through A and B.
one direction, the — sign when made in the reverse direction.
line integral is independent of the path and depends only
on the end points.
along an arbitrary path such as ACB and then integrate in
the reverse direction along any other path not
surrounding the origin, such as BDA, the value of the integral around the closed loop ACBDA will be zero.
surrounding the origin 'O', so that the angle ψ o has the
value 2π the line integral around the loop, or the circulation, will have the value 2πc .
circulation in a uniform flow is given by
KuttaJoukowski Equation
to all bodies regardless of their shape, the shape factor
being contained in the circulation factor
discussion of propeller action is greatly simplified, because we do not have to consider the shape of the
propeller blades until the very end, in the meantime
regarding them merely as vortex filaments or lifting lines endowed with circulation.
lengths, corresponding to the lengths of the blades, not
terminating abruptly at the tips, however, but having continuations, socalled tip vortices, at the free ends.
wings and at the tips and roots of propeller blades, as is readily shown by windtunnel or watertunnel experiments.
blade is the result of an increased pressure on the face
and a decreased pressure on the back.
to spill over the free ends from the face to the back,
creating powerful vortices downstream, the axes of which
are practically at right angles to the axis of the wing or blade, and which form the boundaries of the fluid layer which has been in contact with the blade.
still air is illustrated. The equivalent bound vortex in this case travels in a straight line at right angles to its axis.
be constant along its length, we have the simple system in which AA is the bound vortex and AB the free tip vortices already mentioned. This simple system is a useful concept and helps us to visualize the phenomenon, but does not express adequately the actual flow conditions around the wing.
maximum value at midspan to zero at the ends, and so
the circulation around the wing must vary likewise.
vortex AA varies continuously as shown by the curve, then it can be shown by interpreting circulation in terms of its original definition as a line integral that free
vortices flow not only off the free ends but also all along the trailing edge of AA, forming together a vortex sheet.
equal to the change in circulation at that point on AA.
circulation strengths are and respectively, the free vortex
formed between and will have a strength equal to
sheet,located at opposite sides of the midspan, each lies
in the velocity field of the other and thus must assume the downward velocity existing at that point of the field.
sheet, it follows that the sheet as a whole assumes a
downward velocity. It was shown by Prandtl (1979) that this downward velocity is constant across the sheet when the distribution function represents an ellipse.
at the right, the induced downward velocity is not constant but varies from the value at a very large
distance from A A to the value /2 at AA.
vortex motion which has an equivalent in
electrodynamics and is known as the BiotSavart law.
following reasoning. Let the vortex system in Fig. 15 be
supplemented by a like system extending from AA to infinity at the left.
move downward with the velocity in accordance with the
foregoing discussion.
measure of that induced by vortices belonging to the
supplementary system and by vortices belonging to the original system.
reverting to the system shown in the figure, leaves only
the value at the location of the bound vortex.
advancing propeller blade (Prandtl, et al, 1927).
fluid trailing behind the blade, and the induced velocity, which is normal to the helicoidal layer and so tends to
push the sheet astern along the propeller axis and to rotate it about this axis, is identical with the previously defined slip velocity.
this case also—that the induced velocity at the position of the bound vortex, i.e., at the propeller disk, is or one half
that at a great distance behind the propeller.
propeller blade will have the smallest energy losses
resulting from the induced velocities when the helicoidal vortex sheet is pushed astern along the shaft axis and rotated about this axis as though it were a
the design of the propeller blade in practice; in order to
obtain the maximum propeller efficiency, which is usually
the aim of the designer, the blades must be so designed that the inflow velocity is the same for every blade element.
design enables various refinements to be made to the
simple bladeelement theory already described.
43.In particular, it enables the induced velocity to be calculated, an so the axial and radial inflow factors a and a'. These questions, and other developments, are discussed in detail in Section 8.4.