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1.Propeller aerodynamics. 2.Best diameter and pitch. 3.Number of blades. 4.Determining blade angles from hub to tip. 5.Angle of attack. 6.Blade shape and "elliptic" loading explained. 7.Historical notes. 8.NACA wind tunnel research. 9.Introduction to Vortex theory: What all those German guys said (Prandtl, Munk, Betz, Goldstein, Glauert, Theodorsen) translated into plain English.

How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

How many of you are preparing to design your own airplane? How many of you are prepared to design your own propeller for that airplane? This forum will attempt to provide an overview and some details of propeller design One cannot tell a good prop just by How Propellers Work looking, but one can avoid the

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Propeller design has three parts:

Aerodynamic design

Main aspect of this forum

Structural design

Secondary

Mechanical design

Details, details!

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Why propeller aerodynamics is important Consider a typical light airplane at climb speed

82kts, L/D = 10, 175 sq ft. wing, 2400 lbs., 13.7 psf 76in, 8in chord, 4.25 sq ft., 240 lbs., 56.5 psf 60 Thp, even more Bhp

How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

For a fixed-pitch prop, need 200 hp engine since cant get full rpm and power in climb 4.25 sq ft. pulling 560 lbs = 132 psf! Tip speed: 905 fps = 535 kt

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Thats not the environment wed normally think of as being within the operating envelope of a little old Skyhawk Just maybe, the airfoil choice is a little more involved than Use a Clark Y, thats the way weve always done it At cruise speed a similar analysis How Propellers Work would yield similar results

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

This is high-speed subsonic aerodynamics at the tip, but still lowspeed aero at the root How can low-speed aerodynamics possibly support 132 psf loadings? It cant! Thus, the question of the loading from root to tip becomes important So important that it is the driving How Propellers Work factor over all other design factors

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

The propeller tips must not be allowed to go sonic

That does not mean they must be kept below Mach 1.0 That does mean they must be kept much below Mach 1.0

Good rules-of-thumb are 950fps for metal props, 850fps for wood, somewhere in between for composites based on thickness How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Notice also that the blade chord is narrow That means the Reynolds Numbers are low along the entire blade, even near the tips due to the effect of taper Low Reynolds Numbers (Re) put the blades airfoil design condition near the bottom of or even below the How Propellers Work lower limit of what has been

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

For example, a formula one racer at full race power (4400 rpm) and speed (250 mph) has a propeller blade Re on the order of one million Typical GA airplanes fare slightly better, but many homebuilts fare much worse Typical NACA/NASA wind tunnel airfoil research is at Res of three to How Propellers Work nine million

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

As Tim Kern points out on page 90 of the January, 2009 Sport Aviation magazine, The wrong prop can waste 20% of your airplanes potential. That could be 128 knots vs. 160 knots. Think about it. And the rate of climb? A 5% increase in prop efficiency is equal to a 5% decrease in airframe How Propellers Work drag

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Propeller aerodynamic design is more like sailplane design than airplane design There are two design points of interest

Sailplane: thermalling (minimum sink), and travelling between thermals (maximize L/D) Propeller: climbing, and cruising

How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

A wing operates in a translating airflow A propeller is a wing operating in a rotating and translating airflow This complicates matters (immensely) When an airplane slows down, the entire wing experiences a uniform change of airspeed and angle of How Propellers Work attack across the entire wingspan

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Because of this complication, we tend to design propellers for a single design point Then we accept whatever performance we get at the other important design point So, we need two tools for propeller design

A design tool, to optimize for our design How Propellers Work point

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

The Analysis tool could be a computer tool or it could be a wind tunnel, or The most common Analysis tool for propeller design is the airplane carve the prop, mount it, fly it, see what itll do! Unfortunately, this introduces waaaaay too many variables to How Propellers Work isolate subtle propeller design

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

So, much good design-tool effort is discounted in the end as just so much bloviating The old ways work, just stick to em Thus, we have rules-of-thumb and popular wisdom and anecdotal evidence as our most powerful and influential design experts How Propellers Work Some propeller manufacturers are

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A side note about propeller design methods: There are four ways to design anything

Wing it, a.k.a. W.A.G. wild-astuteguess

Also S.W.A.G. scientific-wild-astuteguess

Cut-and-try (and try, and try again) Trial-and-error, a.k.a. Bracketing or zeroing-in How Propellers Work Guided by Analysis, usually called

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

There are three primary Analytical methods

Statistical measurement

Trial and error (tens or hundreds of times) Variation of parameters

Isolation of physical parameters, comparison with smaller-scale models, discovery of scaling factors

How Propellers Work Newton,

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

The Theoretical method does not stand alone; It informs the other methods. Likewise, the other methods feed back to theory to guide the evolution of that theory Today, there is essentially one theory of propellers, but many different approaches to that theory having How Propellers Work various levels of approximation to

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Another side note:

There is NO equivalent to Aspect Ratio for props This is not to say one couldnt calculate an aspect ratio for a propeller blade Rather, the function of the AR in wing aerodynamic calculations is not paralleled anywhere in propeller calculations Thus, the usual calculation of induced How Propellers Work drag from AR is absent

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

This is a result of the Vortex theory of lift See NACA Report No. 116

Application of Modern Hydrodynamics to

Aeronautics L. Prandtl, Gottingen University This document should be considered required reading! Add NACA Report No. 824 or Theory of Wing Sections by Abbott and von Doenhoff to your required reading list, too How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Another side note:

Everything you read WILL have typographical erors Especialy in the important section, or in the all-important equaations Cross-check and verify from multiple sources Do your own homework

Does it make sense? (First principles) Do the units work out? (Dimensional analysis) How Propellers Work Look for newer works that cite the older ones

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

What constitutes the best prop for my airplane? Optimization can take many forms

Lightest weight Most damage tolerant Lowest cost Easiest to build Coolest looking (Most prevalent! )

How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

What constitutes the best prop for my individual, unique airplane (or type)? Optimized for some specified flight condition Usually, either climb or cruise In-between sometimes called a service prop Racing airplanes optimize for maximum speed Other applications may optimize for maximum static thrust or low-speed thrust (STOL) How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

This forum focuses on optimizing a fixed-pitch prop for one specific airplane (Bobs RV-6) operating at one specific design point:

Altitude = 8000 ft density altitude Horsepower = 170 sea-level brake horsepower Speed = 205 mph TAS (he says itll do it really!) How WhileWork retaining a good climb rate Propellers still

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Questions so far? How are we doing for time?

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

A propeller is a wing constrained to rotate about one of its wing tips When we think of a propeller we typically think of a two-bladed propeller A two-bladed propeller is two wings each constrained to rotate about one of its wing tips And joined at the central wing tips Thus, a two-bladed propeller has four wing tips How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Theory of Propellers Theodore Theodorsen, PhD. McGraw-Hill 1948 (eBay about $165) Save yer sheckels get NACA Reports 775-778 and 924 instead. Thank you, John Crigler!

How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

MIT Open CourseWare (OCW) Hydrofoils and Propellers Prof. J. E. Kerwin, PhD. Kerwin_notes.pdf Free online

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Pre-swirl stator operating alone. A substantial hub vortex is again evident.The sign of this vortex is opposite from the one shown in the previous figure.

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Propeller and stator operating together. The hub vortex has been canceled.

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

NASA-CR-145627

Proceedings of the NASA-IndustryUniversity General Aviation Drag Reduction Workshop, 1975 Propellers of Minimum Induced Loss, and Water Tunnel Tests of Such a Propeller (p. 273) E. E. Larrabee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

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Questions so far? How are we doing for time?

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

NASA Conference Publication 2085 (Part I)

Science and Technology of Low-Speed and Motorless Flight, 1979 Design of Propellers for Motorsoarers by E. Eugene Larrabee (p. 285) (This is also where youll find the Epper 1230 airfoil that Burt Rutan used on some airplanes)

How Propellers Work

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

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Questions so far? How are we doing for time?

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

There are two things above all else that I want you to learn from this forum: Goldsteins function does for propellers what elliptical loading does for wings - efficiency

Caveat: Different for each advance ratio and number of blades

Each blade is a complete wing unto How Propellers Work a tip vortex from each itself, with

1. Propeller Aerodynamics

Questions so far? How are we doing for time?

3. Number of blades.

5. Angle of attack.

7. Historical notes.

History

The development of propeller design methods has mirrored the technologies of the day 19th c.: Scientific method still in infancy

Helmholtz Theory of Vorticity

Foundation of Hydrodynamics and Aerodynamics

Froudes and Rankines Actuator Disc Theory Drzwieckis Blade Element theory How Propellers Work

History

Early 20th c.: Experiment and Analysis

Scientific method flourishes in experiment

Eiffel wind tunnel investigation of wings and airfoils Lesley & Durand tests of model propellers Prandtl et. al Gottingen tunnel: wings and airfoils Weick et. al Langley propeller tunnel

Tests of full-scale propellers

Model and full-scale propeller tests Investigation of effect of Reynolds number on wings How Propellers Work & props

History

Early 20th c.: Experiment and Analysis

Analysis flourishes in academia and research institutes

Lanchester: Concepts of vortex flow and circulation Prandtl: Quantified Lanchesters description

Gave us the concepts of downwash and induced drag

gave us the elliptic lift distribution

described the propeller analog of elliptic lift (thrust) distribution

distribution

History

Early-mid 20th c.: Emphasis on simplification

Creation and use of charts (graphs), tables, and nomograms for rapid calculation Minimal reliance on computation Prefer statistical estimates over iterative solutions Calculus machines more plentiful than calculating machines

Planimeter and Integraph for integration Splines and French Curves for drawing derivative How Propellers Work curves

History

Mid-late 20th c.: Emphasis on computation

Increasing use of computers Development of discretization into finite elements Direct and iterative solutions of unsolvable math Calculating machines more plentiful than mathematicians

Mini-computers How Propellers Work Programmable pocket calculators

History

Mid-late 20th c.: Jets and CFD

Finite element and finite volume methods evolved into Computational Fluid Dynamics CFD Too bad nobody was interested in propellers any more! (Or werent they? Ships have em too.) Then came the 1970s energy crisis 1980s un-ducted fans were all the rage Waaaaaaaaaay loud! Oops! Cancel How Propellers Work program

History

Mid-late 20th c.: NOT Jets and CFD

BUT: Quietly, Prof. Eugene E. Larrabee of MIT was revolutionizing propeller design for the rest of us His design for a VW powered homebuilt airplanes propeller registered the highest efficiency ever recorded in the MIT water tunnel 85% Propellers designed using Larrabees method have helped to set many How Propellers Work world records absolute

History

Late 20th c.: Larrabee reigns supreme

MITs Chrysalis man-powered airplane Gossamer Albatross and Gossamer Condor More than 400 windmills in Altamonte Pass, CA Aerovironments Solar Challenger et. seq. Rutans Voyager (propellers by John How Propellers Work Roncz)

Today

Larrabee computerized Glauerts work, but. What happened to Theodorsens theory? What about CFD? What about supercomputers? What about prop-fans? What about this, that, and the other new theory trumpeting itself as the next and way better prop design How Propellers Work theory?

Yes!

!!!

(Er, at least I think I can)

Yes!

!!!

(Er, at least I think I can) NASA CR-145627 p. 273 (1975) NASA CP-2085 pt-1 p. 285 (1979) Adkins & Liebeck in Journal of Propulsion & Power EAA Weick TN-212 NASA TM-80403 NASA CP-2126

What all those German guys said (Prandtl, Munk, Betz, Goldstein, Glauert, Theodorsen) translated into plain English.

1.Propeller aerodynamics. 2.Best diameter and pitch. 3.Number of blades. 4.Determining blade angles from hub to tip. 5.Angle of attack. 6.Blade shape and "elliptic" loading explained. 7.Historical notes. 8.NACA wind tunnel research. 9.Introduction to Vortex theory: What all those German guys said (Prandtl, Munk, Betz, Goldstein, Glauert, Theodorsen) translated into plain English.

How Propellers Work

Propeller Design Workshop Gall Aerospace www.PropellerDesignWorkshop.com

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