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AER 710 Aerospace Propulsion

Introduction Propellers Internal Combustion Engines Gas Turbine Engines

Chemical Rockets
Non-Chemical Space Propulsion Systems


Nieuport N.28C-1

Introduction to the Propeller

The rotating blade of a propeller shares similar characteristics to a wing passing through the air A propeller blade generates thrust F through an aerodynamic lift force component, demands an engine torque Q to overcome aerodynamic drag, and will stall if the local resultant angle of attack of the blade exceeds Additional factors: trailing vortex generation, tip losses, compressibility

Martin MB-2

DH-98 Mosquito

Forces acting on wing airfoil section (above) and propeller blade section (below)

Actuator Disk Theory For evaluation of propeller performance, one can apply a simple analytical approach using the principle of linear momentum conservation, and treating the propeller as an actuator disk where there is a step increase in pressure

Thrust generated by disk:

( V3 V0 ) A3V3 ( V3 V0 ) F m

F A1 ( p 2 p1 )
Bernoullis eq. applied from upstream to front of disk:

1 1 2 2 p0 V0 p1 V1 2 2

Similarly, downstream of disk:

1 1 2 p 2 V2 p3 V32 2 2
Noting po = p3 , and V2 = V1, via subtraction one gets:

1 1 2 2 p 2 p1 ( V3 V0 ) ( V3 V0 )(V3 V0 ) 2 2 Conservation of mass, incompressible flow:

A3V3 = A1V1
Substituting from earlier:

F A1 ( p 2 p1 ) A3V3 ( V3 V0 )

p 2 p1

A3 1 V3 ( V3 V0 ) ( V3 V0 )( V3 V0 ) A1 2

which gives the simple result:

V3 V0 V1 2

Define propeller-induced velocity w such that:

V1 V0 w
V3 V0 2w
and so for thrust,
F A1V1 ( V3 V0 ) A1 ( V0 w )(V0 2w V0 ) 2 A1 ( V0 w )w

Ideal power required:

P 1 1 1 V32 m V02 A1 ( V0 w )[(V0 2w )2 V02 ] 2 A1 w( V0 w )2 m 2 2 2


P F ( V0 w )

Since power from a piston or turboprop engine is relatively constant at a given altitude, one can expect the thrust to drop as the airplane picks up airspeed, according to this correlation. If one wishes to find w as a function of F, from earlier:

( 2 A1 )w 2 ( 2 A1V0 )w F 0


V0 1 2F 2 w V0 2 2 A1
Ideal static power (Vo = 0):

Po Pind ,o Fo wo
Ideal propeller propulsive efficiency:

Fo3 / 2 2 A1

pr ,i

FV0 F ( V0 w )

1 1 w V0

or via substitution (q is dynamic pressure):

pr ,i

2 1 1 F qA1

Actual propeller propulsive efficiency, in terms of useful (thrust) power and engine shaft power PS :

FV pr pr ,i PS
Correction factor, less than 1, for ideal power estimate:

P F ( V0 w ) ( correction factor ) PS
Variable-pitch propeller better able to approach the ideal power requirement, as compared to a fixed-pitch propeller, in accommodating different flight speeds and altitudes.

To propel a light aircraft at an absolute velocity of 240 km/h against a head wind of 48 km/h a thrust of 10.3 kN is required. Assuming a theoretical efficiency of 90% and a constant air density of 1.2 kg/m3 determine the diameter of ideal propeller required and the power needed to drive it. Sketch the velocity and the pressure profile along the slipstream boundary.