Verication of a Modelica Helicopter Rotor Model Using Blade Element Theory
Abstract: Helicopters have been valuable vehicles ever since their invention. Their capabilities for axial flight and hovering make them an outstanding resource. However, their complexity, directly related to their aerodynamics, makes them extremely hard to design. In today’s market competitivity resources must be optimized and accurate models are needed to obtain realizable designs. The well known Blade Element Theory was used to model helicopter rotors using the Modelica based software SystemModeler. However, it remained unverified due to the lack of experimental data available. The access to experimental data published by NASA motivated the comparison from the model to the measurements obtained during real testing to a scaled rotor. Some improvements were performed to the model obtaining unexpectedly accurate results for hover and axial flight. Two approaches based on the Blade Element Theory and related to Vortex Theory were followed: an infinite number of blades and a finite number of blades. Moreover, the model simulation speed was notice ably increased and prepared for the forward flight model development. Nonetheless, even though the model was ready for forward flight simulations, further research is needed due to, again, the lack of experimental data available. It is concluded from the present work that Wolfram’s SystemModeler can be used as a tool in early design phases of helicopters, even before CAD modeling and CFD due to its simplicity, speed, accuracy, and especially its capability for being used on simple desktop computers.
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