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Conceptual Helicopter Design

• Helicopter design will depend on:
– Aerodynamics
– Structural Dynamics
– Aeroelasticity
– Materials
– Weight
– Flight Dynamics
• Design starts with:
– Potential customer specifications (civil)
– Mission requirements (military)

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 1

Conceptual Helicopter Design
• Design technology for the civilian market is
driven by:
– Reduced acquisition
– Reduced operating costs
– Increased safety
– Reduced cabin noise
– Increased passenger comfort
– Better mechanical reliability and maintainability
– Reduced external noise

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 2

Conceptual Helicopter Design
• On the other hand design technology for the
military market is driven by:
– Operational flexibility and adaptability
– Long operational life
– Upgradeable components
– Vulnerability and Survivability
• Emphasis is being placed on the dual use of
military and civilian technology. This has
benefits for the customer and manufacturer

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 3

Conceptual Helicopter Design
Dual use of military and civilian technology

EC 135 Civil

EC 635 Military
Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 4

Conceptual Helicopter Design
• The general design requirements will include
– Hover capability
– Maximum payload
– Range/Endurance
– Cruise or maximum level flight speed
– Climb Performance
– “Hot and High” performance and other environmental
issues
– Manoeuvrability and agility

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 5

Conceptual Helicopter Design • The general design requirements will be constrain by: – Maximum main rotor disk loading – Maximum physical size – One engine inoperative performance – Autorotative capability – Noise issues – Maintenance issues – Crashworthiness – Radar cross section and detectability (Vulnerability) – Civil/Military Certification Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 6 .

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 7 .

Conceptual Helicopter Design • The objective will be: – Smallest Helicopter – Lightest Helicopter – Least expensive • All with the minimum cost (design) • Simple analytical models Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 8 .

Design of the Main Rotor • The Main Rotor is the most important component of the helicopter. • Small improvements in the Main Rotor efficiency can potentially result in significant increases in: – Aircraft payload – Manoeuvre margins – Forward flight speeds Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 9 .

Design of the Main Rotor • The preliminary design of the Main Rotor must take into consideration: – General sizing • Rotor diameter • Disk Loading • Tip Speed – Blade Planform • Chord • Solidity • Blade twist – Airfoil Sections Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 10 .

Main Rotor Diameter • Large diameter required by: – Autorotational capabilities – Hover performance • Advantages of a large rotor: – Lower disk loadings – Lower average induced velocities – Lower induced power requirements Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 11 .

Main Rotor Diameter • From the modified momentum theory we have obtained P CP  CPi  CP 0   CT CP 0   R  R   R    T CT  CT   2 C   T   CT 2 Cd 0  1  R      2 8 CT  • And the CT for the best PL (minimum P/L) 1  Cd 0  2 3 CT    Best PL 2   Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 12 .

Main Rotor Diameter • The disk loading for minimum power loading is: 2  Cd  2 3 DL    R   T 1 W   0 A 2    A • We can then obtain the optimum radius for maximizing the power loading. T W 1 W • DL  2  R  or R  R DL 2 DL Single rotor Dual rotor Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 13 .

Main Rotor Diameter • We have also seen that the PL is proportional to: PL actual    T FM P DL • So the rotor should operate a maximum FM Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 14 .

Main Rotor Diameter • Other factors influence the rotor diameter: – An aircraft operating in unprepared runway must have low induced velocity. better autorotative characteristics Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 15 . therefore limited disk loading (high rotor diameter) – Large diameter also means higher inertia.

Main Rotor Diameter • The rotor diameter will be constrained by: – Overall helicopter size • Storage • Transport – Weight – Cost – Gearbox torque limit – Speed – Manoeuvrability – Static droop of the blades • Normally the radius is kept smaller than 12m Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 16 .

Main Rotor Diameter Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 17 .

Main Rotor Diameter Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 18 .

Disk Loading • We can therefore conclude that for the low disk loading the advantages are: – Low induced velocities – Low autorotative rate of descent – Low power required in hover • Advantages of high disk loading: – Compact size – Low empty weight – Low hub drag in forward flight Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 19 .

Tip Speed • A high tip speed is necessary for: – Decreases the AOA of the retreating blade – High kinetic energy • Reduces design weight – The rotor torque is lower (Since P=ΩQ) • Lighter gear box • Lighter transmission Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 20 .

Tip Speed • High tip speed also means: – Compressibility effects – Noise (rapidly increasing with tip mach number) • Low tip speed: noise resulting from steady and harmonic loading is dominant • High tip speed noise cause by the blade thickness effects becomes important Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 21 .

Tip Speed Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 22 .

Tip Speed Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 23 .

08 to 0.12 Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 24 . For a rectangular blade: N b cR N b c   R 2 R • Typical values: – From 0. Rotor Solidity • Definition: – Ratio between the blade area with the rotor area.

7. Rotor Solidity • The average lift coefficient is defined to give the same lift coefficient when the blade is operating at the same local lift coefficient (optimum rotor): 1 1 CT   r Cl dr     6 C L 1 2 1 2 1 2 0 2 0 r C L dr CT • Or CL  6  • Typically C L is found to be on the range of 0.4 to 0. Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 25 .

Rotor Solidity • Certification requires that load factors (1. • Rotor designs for high speed or high manoeuvrability helicopters must have a high solidity for a given diameter and tip speed. • Therefore the selection of rotor solidity must have into consideration the blade stall limits. Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 26 .15g) and bank angles (30º) must be demonstrated without rotor stalling.

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 27 . Rotor Solidity • To avoid using a high solidity we can choose an airfoil with a high maximum lift coefficient that would allow a lower tip speed. • Remember all other factors remain constant.

Rotor Solidity Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 28 .

Rotor Solidity • Lower solidity means lower profile power • But lower solidity also means: – Reduced blade lifting area – Increases the blade loading coefficient – Increases the local and mean blade lift coefficient • Therefore decreasing the solidity also decreases the stall margins. Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 29 .

Rotor Solidity • Since the onset of stall sets the performance limits for a rotor its is important to have a big stall margin : – Allow for manoeuvres – Allow for gusts in turbulent air • A highly manoeuvrable combat helicopter will require a larger stall margin than a civilian transport Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 30 .

Rotor Solidity • The onset of stall in the retreating blade also limits the rotor performance Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 31 .

Rotor Solidity Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 32 .

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 33 .

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 34 . • Following the experimental study performed by several investigators the conclusion was reached that the hover performance is primarily affected by the rotor solidity σ and only secondarily by the number of blades Nb. Number of blades • The selection of the number of blades is based more on dynamic issued than on aerodynamic issues.

Number of blades • For a high number of blades: – Lower vibration levels – Lower induced tip looses • The effect on induced power for large aspect ratio blade is small – Weaker tip vortex (for the same thrust) • Reducing the airloads of potential BVI Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 35 .

Number of blades • Reducing the number of blades: – Lower weight – Smaller hubs • Lower weight • Lower drag – Better maintainability – Less number of BVI Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 36 .

Number of blades • Typically a light weight helicopter will have 2 blades • A heavy lift helicopter will have 4. 5 even 7 or 8 blades Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 37 .

Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 38 . Proper use of the blade twist can therefore improve the FM in hover. Blade Twist • Using the BEMT we have seen that negative (nose down) pitch can redistribute the lift over the blade and help reduce the induced power.

Blade Twist • In forward flight blades with high nose down blade twist may suffer some performance loss: •Reduced AOA on the tip of the advancing blade •Reduced or even negative lift •Loss of rotor thrust and propulsive force Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 39 .

Blade Twist • Existing helicopter have a negative linear blade twist of 8º to 15º • The twist range is a compromise between maximizing the hover FM and maintaining good forward flight performance • Some manufacturers used a non-linear or double linear twist here the effective twist near the tip is reduced or even reversed Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 40 .

Blade Planform • We have already seen that small amounts of taper over the blade tip can help improve the FM in hover: Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 41 .

Blade Planform • Minimum Pi requires λ=const. (uniform inflow) • Minimum P0 requires α= α(min Cd/Cl)= α1 • Then for minimum induce power θ= θtip/r and each blade element must operate at α1 Cl   Cl dCT  tip  r dr  1r dr 2 2 2  r 2 • With (BEMT) dCT=4λ2rdr then: rCl 1  8 Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 42 .

 Nb  r  const   cr  R  Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 43 . Therefore the previous equation is constant over the disk. • Let’s assume that α1 is the same for all airfoils along the blade and is independent of Re and M • From the equation since α1 =const and we now that λ=const then σr must be constant too. Blade Planform • We have seen that the minimum induced power requires a uniform inflow.

Blade Planform • The previous situation is achieved when ctip  tip cr   or  r   r r Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 44 .

Blade Planform • However for the benefit is lost for higher taper ratios since the tip will be operating at smaller chord Reynolds number and therefore at higher profile drag coefficients. Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 45 .

Blade tip shape • The tip of the blades play a very important role in the aerodynamic performance of the rotor • The blade tip encounter – The highest dynamic pressure – The highest mach number – The strong trailed tip vortex • It is very important then to have a properly design blade tip Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 46 .

Blade tip shape Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 47 .

Blade tip shape • Anhedral – Can improve the rotor FM • Sweeping the leading edge – Reduces de Mach number normal to the leading edge • Higher velocities can be achieved before the compressibility effects increases the profile power – Effects the Tip vortex formation • Vortex strength • Vortex trailed location Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 48 .

Blade tip shape • Sweep angle – Constant – Progressively varying – Keep low (<20º) • No inertial coupling in the blade dynamics introduced by an aft centre of gravity • No aerodynamic coupling caused by an rearward centre of pressure Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 49 .

Blade tip shape • Progressively sweep angle – Choose a sweep angle that is just sufficient to maintain a constant incident Mach number perpendicular to the leading edge: – The normal velocity to the leading edge Un: U n  Rr   sin  cos  Helicopters / Filipe Szolnoky Cunha Conceptual Helicopter Design Slide 50 .