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Propeller Noise

Rod H. Self
Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

1 Introduction 2 Propeller Tonal Noise Prediction 3 Propeller Broadband Noise Prediction 4 Installed Propeller Noise Prediction 5 Propeller Noise Reduction 6 Perspective Acknowledgments Related Chapters References

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1 INTRODUCTION
Propellers were the first means of powering aircraft and propeller technology advanced steadily until the late 1950s. At this point, the advantages of the newly developed jet engine allowed it to become the dominant technology. The most important of these advantages was that jet-powered aircraft could fly much faster – something that propellers of the time could not match. Consequently, the majority of the commercial fleet is now powered by turbofan engines. However, propellers have never disappeared and are still widely used for lightweight aircraft and small commuter aircraft. An important advantage of propellers over turbofans is their much higher installed efficiency leading to reduced fuel consumption. This led to a minor renaissance in the 1970s and 1980s when higher oil prices prompted manufacturers to look at more efficient propulsion technologies for aircraft,
Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering. Edited by Richard Blockley and Wei Shyy c 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-470-68665-2

and several designs of prop-fan (high-speed turboprop otherwise known as unducted fans or advanced open rotor) were built and tested. Many of the earlier structural problems were overcome by better design aided by advances in computational aerodynamics and structural mechanics and by the use of new composite materials. These advanced prop-fans were certainly efficient at higher Mach numbers, but, for a number of reasons, they were never used for commercial aircraft. An often-cited disadvantage is the noise produced by prop-fans compared to turbofans, but perhaps a more realistic assessment is that the subsequent fall in oil prices removed the incentive to invest in overcoming such problems. This is not something that can be said today. Oil prices are again seeing upward pressure added to which there are concerns over emissions in the form of greenhouse gases (CO2 ) and local pollutants such as NOX . Thus, a need to find substantially more efficient aircraft has returned. Advanced prop-fans are again being investigated seriously by both engine manufacturers and airframers as a possible means of powering short- and medium-haul aircraft. Methods of predicting propeller noise have been under development for 85 years. But just as the interest in propellers from an aerodynamic standpoint has waxed and waned, so there have been bouts of activity in noise research interspersed with periods of relative inactivity. As with many aeroacoustic problems, theoretical deficiencies and a lack of computational power meant that empirical methods were the most reliable early on, and these have continued to be developed, as have the theoretical methods of noise prediction. Gutin (1936) developed the first theory of propeller noise, and this has been much developed by subsequent investigators. The interest in prop-fans during the 1980s resulted in a number of theoretical advances including the ability to account for high-tip Mach numbers and the additional sources arising

or at least significantly reduced. For this reason. but this efficiency falls off rapidly as the flight speed increases. by the downstream propeller that rotates in the opposite direction. This is discussed in Section 5. open). It is important to realize that an installed propeller will have significantly different noise levels and characteristics than the corresponding isolated propeller. highly swept blades. The counter-rotating propeller illustrated in 1c consists of two coaxial propellers rotating in opposite directions. Modern conception of a counter-rotating propeller engine. the blades are often swept and a second. Reproduced with permission from Hubbard (1995).1 Description of propeller types Propellers are instantly recognizable and can be described as an unshrouded (i. While there are many variations on the basic theme (principally number and shape of blades). it is known as a pusher configuration. (c) counterrotating propeller. 1. prop-fans were introduced. A modern conception of a CRP is illustrated in Figure 2. The first of these is tonal or harmonic noise coming from sources that repeat exactly during each revolution of the propeller. narrow blades and are highly efficient at lower flight speeds (Mach number approximately 0. counter-rotating set of blades may be added behind the first. For an ideal propeller with B blades rotating with shaft rotation angular frequency rad s−1 . The prop-fan has a higher number of thin. The chapter is organized as follows.6). To counter this. For these increased speeds. Notice that in the configuration shown. Methods of predicting tone noise are discussed in Section 2 together with methods for broadband noise prediction in Section 4. For low flight speeds the thrust is provided by a relatively large amount of air moving quite slowing and the propeller is highly efficient. This allows it to operate at higher loadings for the same thrust and allows the diameter of the propeller to be reduced. rotating set (or sets) of blades. the intention is to give the reader an overall flavor and point him or her to more substantive accounts. (a) Conventional propeller.2 Propeller noise characteristics Propellers produce two distinctly different types of noise. Additionally. Examples of each of these propeller types are shown in Figure 1. The swirl is then eliminated. 1.e. The second is broadband noise that is a random non-periodic signal caused by turbulent flow over the propeller blades. It is not possible in a short chapter such as this to give an exhaustive account of the subject. This engine differs from those shown in Figure 1 by being designed as an-aft mounted pusher configuration. This reduction of the swirl in the propeller wake can significantly increase fuel efficiency relative to an equivalent single rotation propeller design. The remaining parts of the introduction describe various types of propeller and give a qualitatively description of propeller noise characteristics and sources. The upstream propeller produces a swirling wake that increases the air velocity onto the downstream propeller blades – increasing the thrust produced by the downstream blade row (relative to an identical propeller in a single rotation configuration). Figure 2. Rather. Image courtesy of c Rolls-Royce.. they all operate in the same way. advances in computational fluid dynamics are allowing researchers to better address the effects of installation on propeller noise due to non-uniform flows.2 Acoustics and Noise with counter-rotating propellers (CRPs). the prop-fan illustrated in Figure 1b is more suitable. These propellers have two to six relatively straight. (b) prop-fan. Each blade acts as an aerofoil with high and low pressure surfaces that induces an airflow. However. . Today. the propellers sit at the rear of the turbine housing. Prop-fans are characterized by a larger number of smaller diameter blades and increased rotation speed. as the flight speed increases and the efficiency decreases. the fundamental component of the (a) (b) (c) Figure 1. thus creating thrust. The typical high-performance propeller as used on commuter airplanes is shown in Figure 1a. The final section gives some methods for reducing propeller noise.

These so-called distortion tones add or subtract from the steady loading noise in a highly directional way complicating the prediction of the noise field considerably. the tonal noise components dominate at lower frequencies with the broadband noise increasing in importance as the frequency increases. Generally. The relative importance of two types of noise can be gauged from Figure 3 that illustrates a typical noise spectrum for a conventional propeller. 1. As the propeller rotates through the varying flow field. Figure 4. In the case of the steady loading source. where the tip vortices can be clearly seen. (This source is also found in helicopter rotors where it is known as blade – vortex interaction. Conventional propeller noise spectrum. when viewed from the rotating frame.3 Overview of propeller tonal noise sources Sources of propeller tonal noise are often classified as being steady or unsteady. University of Cambridge. Figure 3. BVI.) A numerical simulation of the pressure fields associated with CRP blades is shown in Figure 4. giving rise to the characteristic “thumping” sound. Image courtesy of Alexios Zachariadis. the components of these forces are varying in time – giving rise to a time-varying pressure field that propagates as noise. There are three principal causes. the loading on the blade varies accordingly. the loading on the blades varies periodically as it rotates. Numerical simulation of pressure contours for a counterrotating propeller showing the tip vortices. tonal noise will be at the blade passing frequency B/2 Hz and harmonics thereof. Essentially.The simplest way of reducing thickness noise is to decrease the blade volume (especially near the faster moving tip). The steady sources give rise to rotor-alone tones that are produced by the rotating steady loading and thickness of each blade. .Propeller Noise 3 Unsteady sources arise principally from the fact that propellers rarely operate in a completely clean inflow. Unsteady loadings are important sources of noise for counter-rotating prop-fans. Thickness noise arises from the time-varying displacement of air by the blade volume as it rotates in the fixed frame. producing tones at harmonics of the blade passing frequency. It is purely dependent on the geometry and operating condition of the engine. the lift and drag on the blade are constant in the rotating frame. when a propeller operates with its axis at an angle to the incoming airflow. This is because each set of blades distorts the flow field seen by the other set of blades. steady sources are those that are constant when viewed by an observer using a reference frame that is fixed to the rotating blades while unsteady sources exhibit a time dependence to an observer using the rotating reference frame. Such periodic changes in loading can also occur when the propeller is installed in close proximity to the aircraft fuselage or wing. due to the thickness and loading on each propeller blade. interacting with the blades on the adjacent propeller (Figure 5). If the blade thickness is reduced by half then thickness noise is reduced by 6 dB. Viscous wake interaction tones arise from the unsteady lifting on blades in the second row when they pass through the viscous wakes shed from the first row. Bound potential interaction tones are caused by the bound potential field. For example. the broadband noise is random in nature and contains components at all frequencies. Tip–vortex interaction tones arise when the tip vortices produced by each upstream propeller blade convect downstream and interact with the downstream propeller blades. Broadband noise sources are discussed in Section 3 below. but. By contrast.

If the two rotors have the same number of blades and are operating at the same rotational speed. Bound potential field of the first blade row interacting with the blades on the second row to produce noise. That is. Directivity of interaction tones. Generally. In this case. Notice that different tones have different directivities. the generated noise is tonal. . 150 140 130 120 Sound pressure level (dB) 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 Observer angle (º) Viscous wake Rearward potential Forward potential Tip vortex Total Figure 6. The graphs show how the levels of noise vary for a number of different interaction tones as the observer changes angle to the propeller axis. These interaction tones will be the dominant noise sources at low-speed operations such as takeoff but will be less important at high-speed cruise conditions where the steady sources become dominant.4 Acoustics and Noise In all cases. the two rotors have different numbers of blades and rotate at different shaft frequencies. with interaction tones having a more complicated directivity than rotor-alone tones. Figure 5. the tones produced are highly directional in nature. and the number of individual frequencies at which they occur is large. then the unsteady sources produce tones at the same frequencies as the steady sources that are the harmonics of the blade passing frequency. the level of noise varies as the observer changes angular position relative to the propeller axis (Figure 6). Whatever their source. the interaction tones are quite distinct. The directivity of steady tones is somewhat simpler. however.

Here. p. However. the quadrupole source is also ignored leading to a linear equation of the form 1 ∂2 ∂2 − 2 2 2 c ∂t ∂xi p = −ρ0 ∂ ∂ Q+ Fi ∂t ∂xi (2) 2. but modern methods all start with the equation of Ffowcs-Williams and Hawkin’s (1969). This will not lead to significant error unless very high frequencies (those with wavelength comparable to the blade thickness) are considered. This makes them easier to code and decreases the computing power required but does so at the expense of accurately representing the blade geometry – but this is unlikely to be a problem unless results to a high number of harmonics are required. and vi are the components of the local surface velocity.1 Time domain methods Equation (1) or (2) may be solved directly in terms of integrals over the blade surface with time dependency. see. A useful introductory For details of the derivation. Lifting-line methods utilize an asymptotic expansion with the reciprocal of the blade aspect ratio as small parameter (Brouwer. which give rise to loading noise. In this case. The main proponent of frequency domain methods is Hanson who has developed formulae to account for a number of different sources and effects. Morse and Ingard (1968) or Goldstein (1976). while the righthand side shows that there are three sources of sound. Codes that incorporate the work of Farassat include the Aircraft Noise Prediction Program (Zorumski and Weir. That is.Propeller Noise 5 2 PROPELLER TONAL NOISE PREDICTION The first complete description of propeller steady loading noise was given by Gutin (1936). Liftingline methods are reflectively easy to code but are limited in application blades with small chords. the blades are assumed to be thin with small angles of attack but are no longer assumed to be chordwise compact. Additionally. δ represents the Dirac delta function. the thickness noise source is now represented as an equivalent distribution of volume sources (and sinks). Q. 1992). There are two common approximations used to tackle these equations. These time domain methods allow the blade geometry to be treated with great precision but suffer the disadvantage that the integrands need to be computed at retarded times. It is usual to simplify this equation in a way that eliminates the need to consider the details of the blade’s cross-sectional geometry as represented by the function f. The second term includes the compressive stress tensor pij and represents the action of the blade forces on the air. and the Advanced Subsonic and Supersonic Propeller Induced Noise (ASSPIN) prediction code (Dunn and Tarkenton. 2. for example. t) at the observer position xi and time t. This is an extension of Lighthill’s (1952) theory and Curle’s (1955) work on solid boundaries to include the effects of motion: ∂2 1 ∂2 − 2 2 2 c ∂t ∂xi p=− − ∂2 T ij ∂ + ∂xi ∂xj ∂xi ∂ ∂t ρ0 vi δ(f ) pij δ(f ) ∂f ∂xi ∂f ∂xj (1) sources are represented as a series of rotating lines. Padula and Dunn.2 Frequency domain methods Frequency domain methods obtained by taking a Fourier transformation over time t are popular tools as they eliminate the need for computing retarded time blade locations and numerical derivatives. to compute the acoustic pressure p(xi . 1986) and frequency domain (Hanson. The left-hand side of this equation is the usual linear wave operator operating on the acoustic pressure. In this case. when the element emitted a wave that arrives at the observer position xi at time t. The third term quantifies the effects of the blade separating the air as it rotates producing thickness noise. A more realistic model is given by lifting-surface methods. variations in the chordwise direction are collapsed to a single point. 1986). 1992). Time domain methods require great accuracy and are difficult to code. 1980). it is necessary to determine where every element of the surface was. The sources are now seen as located on an infinitely thin multiple helix described by the blades. and the . despite the numerous complications. a direct integration of either form of the Ffowcs Williams–Hawkins equation requires the numerical computation of derivatives. the Dunn–Farassat–Padula Advanced Turboprop Prediction (Farassat. In this simplified equation. The blade surface is given by f = 0. and the source strength. most notably by Farassat who has developed a number of formulations. while determination the loading sources reduces to finding the form of the force Fi imposed by the blade on the air. a number of useful time domain codes have been developed. The first term represents a distribution of quadrupoles of strength given by the Lighthill stress tensor Tij outside of any surface and zero within them (indicated by the overline). 1987). Lifting-surface methods have been developed in both the time domain (Farassat.

CL and CD are defined so that the lift and drag force per unit span-wise distance is given by 1 ρ0 Ur2 CL. Mr = 2 MX + z2 Mt2 (6) of amplitudes arising from the blades thickness. Codes using the frequency domain approach include Whitfield et al.1 Steady sources Hanson’s method is a lifting-surface method. (1989) and Engineering Sciences Data Unit (ESDU) (1996) for single propellers and Whitfield. To determine the thickness noise requires that the thickness of the blade is specified at each radial location. coordinate z = r/rt where rt is the tip radius. 1985. which is a measure of how far the mid point of the chord is offset from the radius vector (see Figure 7). 1990b) for counter-rotating propellers. Hanson’s original work has been extended and applied to counter-rotating propellers (Hanson. In the far-field. Parry.2. Similarly. to determine the amplitudes arising from lift and drag requires analogous distributions to be defined. . Definition of the mid-chord alignment MCA. lift. Blade sweep is accounted for by the mid-chord alignment. This specification is given as h(X)T where h(X) is a non-dimensional thickness distribution function ranging from 0 at each edge of the blade to 1 at the thickest part of the section where the thickness is T. and drag. and the coordinate system for the propeller disk with observer in the x–t plane.6 Acoustics and Noise summary to the main elements of Hanson’s work can be found in Chapter 1 of Hubbard (1995). These are determined by integration over a blade planform defined in terms of a normalized axial coordinate X = x/b where b is the local blade chord and a normalized radial The equivalent of a retarded time appears in the frequency domain formulation via a retarded radiation angle (also called emission angle) θ that is related to the current (polar) angle Figure 7. MCA. 1988).D 2 (5) 2. These are specified in terms of section lift and drag coefficients CL and CD and chordwise lift and drag distribution functions fL (X) and fD (X). the pressure is given as an infinite sum over harmonics of the blade passing frequency: ∞ p(t) = m=−∞ PBm exp(−imB t) (3) where the propeller has B blades rotating at an angular frequency and the Fourier amplitudes PBm can be written as a sum PBm = PVm + PLm + PDm (4) where Ur is the blade section speed given by Ur = c0 Mr where Mr is the section relative Mach number. Mani and Glieb (1990a. which we illustrate by considering the steady thickness and loading sources.

the thickness and loading distributions are given in terms of their Fourier transforms for example. Using these. noise due to the nonlinear quadrupole term in the Ffowcs-Williams–Hawkings equation (1) will make a significant contribution to the overall sound pressure level. it is possible for local areas of supersonic flow to exist. For lower blade speeds. JmB is a Bessel function of order mB and ϕs is the phase lag arising from the blade sweep and is given by ϕs = MCA 2mBbMt /D D Mr (1 − MX cos θ) (12) Expressions for PLm and PDm are obtained from equation (11) by replacing the term in braces in the integral on the right-hand side by ikX CL L (kX )/2 and ikX CD D (kX )/2. Essentially unsteady loading on the blades is dealt with by expanding the lift and drag coefficients as Fourier series such as ∞ and Hanson defines the non-dimensional wave numbers 2mBbMt kX = D(1 − MX cos θ)Mr and ky = 2mBb(MX − Mr2 cos θ) D(1 − MX cos θ)zMr (8) CL = j=−∞ CLj e−iωj t (13) (9) where D = 2rt is the blade diameter. . θt . in this case. a discussion is given by Brouwer (1994). or mean. and a shock is usually formed on the suction side of the blades. the result is that the unsteady loading equivalent of equation (11) will contain a double sum. therefore. This is called transonic flow. The final expression for the thickness noise is now given by 2 ρ0 c0 sin θ exp imB r c0 PVm = − × − 2 8 y(1 − MX cos θ)/D 1 0 Mr2 exp(iϕs )JmB V (kX ) mBzMt sin θ 1 − MX cos θ (11) In this case.2.2 2 Unsteady sources sin θt + MX sin θt 2 (7) Frequency domain methods for unsteady sources can become quite cumbersome and will not be given in detail. Parry (1988) points out that the incorporation of blade sweep into the propeller design can effectively remove this transonic phenomenon and that. Mani and Gliebe (1990a. For contra-rotating prop-fans. In this equation. When the drag coefficient is similarly expanded. it is necessary to consider the variations in loading and drag that arise from the flow field of one set of blades interfering with the other set of blades.Propeller Noise 7 between aircraft and observer. the unsteady loading sources arising from non-uniform inflow onto the blades as well as the unsteady loading on the second set of blades due to the viscous wake and tip vortex of the first set of blades are considered. 1985). and this has the effect of greatly multiplying the number of tones present in the noise spectrum. the fundamental frequency in (13) will be the shaft rotation frequency and ωj = j . the j = 0 lifting coefficient is the steady. When it is necessary to consider transonic effects. In this case. by cos θ = cos θt 1− 2 MX 2. +1/2 −1/2 V (kX ) = h(X)eikX X dX (10) with similar expressions defining L (kX ) and D (kX ) as transforms of fL (X) and fD (X). When the propeller is operating at an angle to an otherwise undistorted inflow. the load frequencies will be of the form ωj = jB1 ( 1 + 2 ). It is possible to obtain formulations for a general case of harmonic loading at any frequency (Hanson. × 2 kX T 2. it should be possible to neglect the quadrupole source. the steady loading and thickness noise sources together with the unsteady sources will dominate. as the blade speed increases and approaches high subsonic values. but two special cases are worthy of note. and. loading previously considered. respectively. In the contra-rotating code developed by Whitfield. 1990b).2. Parry (1988) derives expressions for unsteady loading due to the bound potential fields of the blades. However.3 dz Nonlinear effects b where y = R sin θ is the altitude of the aircraft.

an observer will hear the sound at a different frequency than the one he would hear it at if the source was not in motion. Physically. we are far more likely to be able to make an estimate of the amplitude and spectral characteristics of the turbulent fluctuations allowing some general expressions to be derived. 3 PROPELLER BROADBAND NOISE PREDICTION Propeller broadband noise is much smaller than the tonal noise components. b. For aircraft noise. It arises by way of interaction of the blade with turbulence. these are highly dependent on the assumed spectral characteristics of the turbulence. and.8 Acoustics and Noise who also includes formula for the effects of supersonic blade speeds. If the frequency is low enough then the entire blade will radiate (compact case). or away from. it is therefore the flyover noise that is most effected by Doppler shifts (Figure 8). When a source moves in a stationary medium relative to an observer. the reverse is true and the observer hears a lower frequency. which is often difficult. the situation is necessarily non-compact and the sound generation is concentrated on the trailing edge of the blade where the turbulent eddies induce changes in the loading on the blade. it is often ignored. the wavefronts are closer together resulting in a higher frequency. The forward motion of the aircraft further modifies the noise received by an observer on the ground by inducing a Doppler frequency shift. the noise generation is generally concentrated on the leading edge of the blade. turbulence acts to produce a randomly fluctuating force on the propeller’s edges. The turbulence may be generated upstream of the propeller and be convected onto the blades by the mean stream or it may be generated in the turbulent boundary layer of the blade. which are normally estimated by fitting to data. A discussion of this method is provided in Chapter 1 of Hubbard (1995). One method for predicting trailing-edge noise is based on the work of Amiet (1976). In practice. When it moves away. This effect is known as a Doppler shift and is at its most effective when the source is moving directly towards. Also. 4. and an example of its implementation is given in Schlinker and Amiet (1981). for this reason. the installation of the open rotor means the radiated sound field is altered by the presence of surfaces such as the aircraft wing and fuselage. When an aircraft moves towards an observer. While such methods allow estimates of the 1/3 octave Sound Pressure Level (SPL) levels to be made. This requires that the acoustic wavelength.1 Doppler effects When an acoustic source is in motion. These effects are usually significant and applying prediction codes without correctly allowing for them can result in estimates of the noise that substantially underpredict. The principal problem in this case is quantifying the inflow turbulence. 4 INSTALLED PROPELLER NOISE PREDICTION The acoustic formulations discussed in previous sections assume that the sound is radiated into a free field containing no reflecting surfaces and with no other propagation effects other than that of spherical spreading. and broadband noise is therefore dipole in nature. λ. is less than the blade chord. When turbulence is convected onto the blades. noise emitted by the source at frequency fs will be observed the at a frequency fo = fs 1 − Mx cos θ (14) where Mx is the Mach number of the source and θ is the angle between the source velocity vector and a line joining source and observer at the time the sound is emitted. the observer. Generalization of equation (14) to include the case where the medium is also in motion is given by Roy (1983). This Figure 8. . For turbulence generated in the boundary layer.

Propeller Noise 9 allows estimates to be made of the Doppler shift that occurs when wind is present. First. The third consideration is that of far-field community noise levels and aircraft certification requirements. For a given thrust requirement. Figure 9. an increase in their number will lead to an increase in thickness noise. Some of this vibration is transmitted through the airframe from vibrating components in the engines. and this may have to be offset by altering other parameters. Image courtesy of c Flybe. and this is particularly beneficial at takeoff where the low-speed operation means that loading noise dominates. Also. increasing the number of blades also has negative effects. estimating the shielding of wing installed prop-fans is given by Amiet (1986).e. the nearfield radiation must be calculated.2 Blade thickness Thickness noise can be significant during high-speed cruise. increasing the number of blades reduces the loading noise. Both of these considerations depend on the acoustic field in close proximity to the propellers. A method for 5 PROPELLER NOISE REDUCTION There are a number of reasons that make it desirable to reduce propeller noise as far as possible. but a large part arises from acoustic excitation of the fuselage. 5. the spectrum is dependent on the shape of the blade so any reductions will depend on the frequency being considered.. when blade relative velocities are high. As thickness noise scales with the blade volume. This will be most efficient for higher frequencies (i. and this is particularly important if the airframe structure has resonances that coincide with one of the propeller frequencies. The calculation of the acoustic near-field and the subsequent scattering by the fuselage is quite complicated and will not be discussed in detail. without altering the volume of the blades. those within or approaching the geometric acoustic asymptotic limit) when the wing blocks the line of sight between observer and source. . Their method models the effect of the boundary layer on the fuselage on the radiated sound field. consideration must be given to possible fatigue of the airframe resulting from the pressure loadings imposed by the acoustic field. Second. (1989) who describe a theoretical method for calculating the scattering of the sound field produced by a contra-rotating propeller by the fuselage.com. as does sound incident on the wings (Figure 9). As well as scattering the sound by the fuselage. Sound incident on the fuselage is also scattered and modifies the far field noise. and this implies that narrow. wings can be used to provide shielding. The problem has been addressed by a number of previous investigations including that of Hanson and Magliozzi (1985) and Whitfield et al. it can be reduced by reducing either the thickness or the chord.2 Refraction effects and shielding and scattering by the airframe A significant problem with propeller aircraft is the cabin noise that is caused by vibration of the cabin walls. A number of guiding principles to reduce propeller noise can be inferred through inspection of the prediction theories. To correctly model these phenomena. A second consideration is that of cabin noise that needs to be minimized for passenger and crew comfort. While the overall sound level is dependent on the blade volume. First.1 Blade number Probably the best known method of reducing propeller noise is to increase the number of blades. increasing blade number raises the frequencies and this can be detrimental on an A-weighted-based scale such as EPNdB. 4. The main limiting factor in achieving this is the structural integrity of the blades. The exciting acoustic field is not the same as the one that would be generated by an isolated propeller in the same location because the boundary layer on the fuselage acts to refract the noise. 5. they both operate during the entire duration of the flight and are therefore most influenced by the noise during high-speed cruise operating conditions. thin blades are optimal for such a reduction. and this requires rather more general formula than the ones quoted above. Sound generated by propellers can scatter and reflect from wings and fuselage. However. which they show has a significant effect on the radiated sound levels.

Sound Vib.3 Operating conditions The sound generated by a blade section from all sources depends strongly on the relative velocity. turbo-prop aircraft also produce airframe noise (see Airframe Noise: Landing Gear Noise and Airframe Noise: High Lift Device Noise) but these sources are less dominant on the smaller aircraft that are typi- . cropping the second set of blades can considerably reduce.H. A231. R. and these factors must be considered as part of an overall optimization and trade-off study. NLR Technical Publication TP 94203 U. These arise from a range of interactions that occur between the two blade rows. N. Proc. 117–142.6 Blade shape and aerofoil cross section The exact way in which design parameters such as twist or aerofoil cross section affect noise is not immediately obvious. J. Major contributors are the loading and thickness sources giving rise to rotor-alone tones and distortion tones arising from unsteady flow on to the blades. For a given thrust. cally propeller driven. Significantly. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Dr M. 47(3).H. Amiet. a noise reduction can be made by reducing tip speed. Dunn. (1996) Prediction of near-field and far-field harmonic noise from subsonic propellers with non-axial inflow. This will be beneficial at low-speed operation at takeoff where loading noise is important. when blade-section-relative Mach numbers are relatively high. 5. the theory is well understood for the dominant sources and is beginning to be understood for the other sources. Currently the major strategy for reducing propeller noise is by careful design. 86-17. Benefits during takeoff are considerably less. As such.. a compensating increase in blade chord and/or number of blades must be made. ESDU Item No.5 Propeller diameter An increase in the propeller diameter necessarily entails a reduction in the blade loading. Brouwer. H. this also increases the efficiency of the propeller allowing a second gain to be made by decreasing the tip speed. United Technologies Research Center Report No. J. (1976) Noise due to a turbulent flow past a trailing edge.10 Acoustics and Noise 5. M. Fluid Mech. if not eliminate. Airframe noise will be more important on the proposed larger aircraft that use contra-rotating propellers but there are also a new range of tonal sources. Like turbo-fan powered aircraft. Turbo-fan engines offer considerable scope for noise reduction technology such as liners (see Propulsion System Noise: Turbomachinery) that are not available for propellers. this always needs to be considered in relation to the aerodynamic performance of the blade. NASA CR-4434.K. the tip-vortex noise. rules of thumb are of little use. ESDU International plc. In order to maintain thrust.. R. 505–514. 387–393. (1994) Aircraft propeller noise. G. This is particularly relevant for the newer generation of CRPs where it is already known that making fairly simple design changes can radically affect the noise. (1986) Diffraction of sound by a half-plane in a uniform flow. 5. Brouwer. (1992) Computational methods in the prediction of Advanced Subsonic and Supersonic Propeller Induced Noise – ASSPIN users’ manual. 242. R. Kingan from the ISVR for his insightful comments on the text of this chapter. H. (1955) The influence of solid boundaries on aerodynamic sound. to make this a practical proposition it requires understanding the balance between aerodynamic performance and noise source mechanisms and this is the subject of current research. 95029. and this is why sound generation is normally maximum at the tip.. (1992) On the use of matched asymptotic expansions in propeller aerodynamics and acoustics. and Tarkenton. 6 PERSPECTIVE The noise from propeller engines is dominated by tones and a fairly complete theory for these has been developed – at least in the case of single propellers. Curle. RELATED CHAPTERS Ducted and Unducted Fans Commercial Engine Noise REFERENCES Amiet. this implies that the loading per unit area is reduced and hence a reduction in loading noise. Soc. 5. Solutions are possible in both the time and the frequency domain. Once again. For example. While such factors are known to have an influence on the noise. However.K.4 Blade sweep Increasing blade sweep is beneficial during high-speed cruise. Consequently.

E. NASA CR-3470. and Magliozzi. Aircraft. (1990a) High speed turboprop aeroacoustic study (counterrotation). (1990b) High speed turboprop aeroacoustic study (counterrotation). Volume 1 – model development. 63–70. NASA TM-83199. Lighthill. P. Whitfield. (1989) High speed turboprop aeroacoustic study (single rotation). and Hawkings. Ffowcs-Williams. 24. and Gliebe. (1987) Advanced turboprop noise prediction based on recent theoretical results. 609–617. 18(10). Acoustical Society of America through the American Institute of Physics. (1976) Aeroacoustics. Sowjetunion. and Dunn. Volume 1 – model development. 57–71. Parry. Goldstein. and Gliebe. . (1981) helicopter rotor trailing edge noise. R. F. P. 321–342. L. Zeit. (1968) Theoretical Acoustics.E. D. F. (1985) Propagation of propeller tone noise through a fuselage boundary layer. C..H. General theory. 83-0702.. NASA CR-185242. AIAA Paper No. and Weir. M. Whitfield. J.E. Trans. Roy.R. (eds) (1986) Aircraft noise prediction program theoretical manual–propeller aerodynamics and noise.E. M.. R.. A264. Part I. Gliebe.S.R. 22(7). Mani. Hanson. 587. Mani. NASA CR-185241. Gutin. 3..Propeller Noise 11 Farassat. AIAA J. (Translated as 1948 NACA Technical Memorandum 1195). W. Mani. Morse. (1952) On sound generated aerodynamically. and Ingard. A.K. P. 119(1). (1986) Prediction of advanced propeller noise in the time domain. R. Proc. 22(1). D. Hanson.H. (1985) Noise of counter-rotation propellers..H. NASA CR-182257.E.. C.M.B. Hanson. J.B.B. Pt. (1980) Helicoidal surface theory for harmonic noise of propellers in the far field. (1983) Doppler frequency effects due to source.. D.U.B. D.. Zorumski. Padula.L. R. AIAA J. Hubbard. Sound Vib. and Mungur. J. Aircraft. R. PhD thesis. Soc. R. McGraw-Hill. P. University of Leeds.J. Volume 2 – computer programs. D. McGraw-Hill. 1213– 1219. Woodbury. Whitfield. K.E. Philos.R. D. B.. C. 546–587. M. 9(1). (1988) Theoretical prediction of counter-rotating propeller noise. H. Schlinker. R. 53–79. and Amiet. Department of Applied Mathematical Studies. S. Volume 1: Noise Sources. Farassat.L. Soc. (1969) Sound generation by turbulence and surfaces in arbitrary motion. medium and receiver motions of constant velocity. J. P. A211.) (1995) Aeroacoustics of Flight Vehicles. (1936) On the sound field of a rotating propeller. (ed.