Understanding Unsteady Aerodynamics of Cycloidal Rotors in Hover at Ultra-low Reynolds Numbers Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2018, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved. This paper provides a fundamental understanding of the unsteady aerodynamic phenomena on a cycloidal rotor blade operating at ultra-low Reynolds numbers (Re~18,000) by utilizing a combination of experimental (force and flowfield measurements) and computational (CFD) studies. For the first time ever, the instantaneous blade fluid dynamic forces on a rotating cyclorotor blade were measured, which, along with PIV-based flowfield measurements revealed the key fluid dynamic mechanisms acting on the blade. A 2D CFD analysis of the cycloidal rotor was developed and systematically validated using force measurements. Studies were performed with both static and dynamic blade pitching. Direct comparison of the static and dynamic pitch experimental results helped isolate the unsteady phenomena (such as dynamic stall, unsteady virtual camber, etc.) from the steady effects. The dynamic blade force coefficients were almost double the static ones clearly indicating the role of unsteady mechanisms on force production on cyclorotor blades. For the dynamic case, the blade lift monotonically increased even up to 45 pitch amplitude due to dynamic stall phenomenon; however, as expected, for the static case, the flow separated from the leading edge after around 15 with large laminar separation bubble (LSB) and eventually completely separating at higher pitch angles. For both static and dynamic pitching cases, there was significant asymmetry in the lift and drag coefficients between positive and negative pitch angles due to the flow curvature effects (virtual camber).

name of conference

  • 2018 AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting

published proceedings

  • 2018 AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting

author list (cited authors)

  • Walther, C. M., Coleman, D., & Benedict, M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Walther, Carolyn M||Coleman, David||Benedict, Moble

publication date

  • January 2018