Parallel simulation of unsteady hovering rotor wakes

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

30 Citations (Scopus)


Numerical simulation using low diffusion schemes, for example free-vortex or vorticity transport methods, and theoretical stability analyses have shown the wakes of rotors in hover to be unsteady. This has also been observed in experiments, although the instabilities are not always repeatable. Hovering rotor wake stability is considered here using a finite-volume compressible CFD code. An implicit unsteady, multiblock, multigrid, upwind solver, and structured multiblock grid generator are presented, and applied to lifting rotors in hover. To allow the use of very fine meshes and, hence, better representation of the flow physics, a parallel version of the code has been developed, and parallel performance using upto 1024 CPUs is presented. A four-bladed rotor is considered, and it is demonstrated that once the grid density is sufficient to capture enough turns of the tip vortices, hover exhibits oscillatory behaviour of the wake, even using a steady formulation. An unsteady simulation is then performed, and also shows an unsteady wake. Detailed analysis of the time-accurate wake history shows that three dominant unsteady modes are captured, for this four-bladed case, with frequencies of one, four, and eight times the rotational frequency. A comparison with theoretical stability analysis is also presented.
Translated title of the contributionParallel simulation of unsteady hovering rotor wakes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632 - 649
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Volume68 (6)
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Wiley


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