Effect of blade number on rotor efficiency and noise emission at hovering condition

Pengyu Li, Yannian Yang*, Qingxi Li, Elias J. G. Arcondoulis, Bernd R. Noack, Yu Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The configuration of rotors significantly impacts the aerodynamic efficiency and noise emission of multicopters. To date, there are no general guidelines regarding how many blades a rotor should use for optimal aerodynamic performance and minimum noise emission. From the perspectives of aerodynamics and acoustics during the hovering condition, two key parameters, i.e., figure of merit (FM) and overall sound pressure level (OASPL), are evaluated to determine the optimal blade number (BN). The number of blades chosen in this study is BN = 2–6, which is largely observed in commercial multicopters. A genetic algorithm was developed to optimize blade design for each BN-rotor configuration. The individuals are evaluated by steady computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and acoustic analogy for optimizations, and the detailed analyses of optimal ones are further explored by unsteady CFD simulations. The planform of the baseline blade is maintained, and the radial distribution of twist angles is the parameter for optimization. While generating the same thrust, the value of FM keeps increasing as the number of blades increases from 2 to 4, after which the FM value reaches a plateau. The value of OASPL keeps decreasing as the number of blades increases. The reason for the FM and OASPL value trends vs blade number is explained with the numerical simulation results, and a general design rule is suggested at the end.
Original languageEnglish
Article number027142
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2024

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