Flow field studies on a micro-air-vehicle-scale cycloidal rotor in forward flight Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. This paper examines the flow physics and principles of force production on a cycloidal rotor (cyclorotor) in forward flight. The cyclorotor considered here consists of two blades rotating about a horizontal axis, with cyclic pitch angle variation about the blade quarter-chord. The flow field at the rotor mid-span is analyzed using smoke flow visualization and particle image velocimeV are compared with flow fields predicted using 2D CFD and time-averaged force measurements acquired in an open-jet wind tunnel at three advance ratios. It is shown that the experimental flow field is nearly two dimensional at =0.73 allowing for qualitative comparisons to be made with CFD. The incoming flow velocity decreases in magnitude as the flow passes through the retreating (upper) half of the rotor and is attributed to power extraction by the blades. A significant increase in flow velocity is observed across the advancing (lower) half of the rotor. The aerodynamic analysis demonstrates that the blades accelerate the flow through the lower aft region of the rotor, where they operate in a high dynamic pressure environment. This is consistent with CFD-predicted values of instantaneous aerodynamic forces which reveal that the aft section of the rotor is the primary region of force production. Phase-averaged flow field measurements showed two blade wakes in the flow, formed by each of the two blades. Analysis of the blades at several azimuthal positions revealed two significant blade-wake interactions. The locations of these blade-wake interactions are correlated with force peaks in the CFD-predicted instantaneous blade forces and highlight their importance to the generation of lift and propulsive force of the cyclorotor.

published proceedings

  • Experiments in Fluids

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Lind, A. H., Jarugumilli, T., Benedict, M., Lakshminarayan, V. K., Jones, A. R., & Chopra, I.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Lind, Andrew H||Jarugumilli, Tejaswi||Benedict, Moble||Lakshminarayan, Vinod K||Jones, Anya R||Chopra, Inderjit

publication date

  • January 2014