A review of helicopter rotor blade tip shapes

Brocklehurst, A. and Barakos, G. N. (2013) A review of helicopter rotor blade tip shapes. Progress in Aerospace Sciences, 56, pp. 35-74. (doi:10.1016/j.paerosci.2012.06.003)

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Abstract

A review of helicopter rotor blade tip design technology has been carried out with a view to undertaking subsequent computations to evaluate the performance of new tip designs. The review starts by briefly looking at (fixed) wing tip design concepts and the underlying fluid mechanics on which they are based in order to see if there is any carry-over of ideas on which improved tip design concepts might be based. Then, rotor blade tip shapes that have been used, or suggested for use, on past and present rotorcraft are examined to obtain a better understanding of the helicopter tip design problem. In parallel, the review traces the development of analysis tools to evaluate the performance of the rotor and blade tip design. It is clear that in the past, the designer relied heavily on classical aerodynamic knowledge, supplemented by experience and intuition, supported by wind tunnel and model rotor testing, and relatively low-order aerodynamic calculations. New rotor designs were, and still are the subject of intensive flight test verification. However, recent development of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) now offers an opportunity to accurately predict the viscous, compressible flow-field in the tip region, and thus predict the performance of new rotor and tip designs, provided that the solver has adequate resolution, is able to handle all aspects of the helicopter problem, and sufficient computational resources are available to complete the design in a practical time-scale.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barakos, Professor George and Brocklehurst, Dr Alan
Authors: Brocklehurst, A., and Barakos, G. N.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Aerospace Sciences
Journal Name:Progress in Aerospace Sciences
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN:0376-0421
ISSN (Online):1873-1724

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