A Computational Study on Rotor Interactional Effects for a Quadcopter in Edgewise Flight

This study examines the performance of a quadcopter in edgewise flight conditions with flow simulated using the commercial Navier-Stokes solver, AcuSolve, with a Detached Eddy Simulation (DES) model. The rotating volume around each rotor interfaces with the remainder of the computational domain using a sliding mesh. Simulations were conducted for an AeroQuad Cyclone quadcopter at 10 m/s forward speed, 5 deg nose-down pitch attitude, operating in both cross and plus configurations. From the results it was observed that in the cross configuration, the aft (South) rotors showed a 19% reduction in lift (relative to an isolated rotor at the same forward speed, pitch attitude and RPM), with an associated 3% reduction in torque. The loss in lift was primarily at the front of the aft rotors due to the downwash induced by the forward rotors, therefore reducing the aft rotor nose-up pitching moments by 54% (relative to operation in isolation). In the plus configuration, sections of the East and West rotors close to the aircraft center-body operate in upwash induced by the North rotor, increasing the lift generated by 5.5% and 7.6% respectively, relative to operation in isolation. The South rotor sees both upwash (and increased lift) along the advancing and retreating edges induced by the East and West rotors, as well as downwash at the front (and reduced lift) induced by the North rotor, but no significant overall changes in thrust or torque.

Reference

Misiorowski, M., Gandhi, F., and Oberai, A., "A Computational Study on Rotor Interactional Effects for a Quadcopter in Edgewise Flight ,"

Proceedings of the 74th American Helicopter Society Annual Forum, Phoenix, Arizona, May 15-17, 2018.