Analysis Of Computational Modeling Techniques For Complete Rotorcraft Configurations
O'Brien, David Michael, Jr.
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Recent increases in computing power and memory have created renewed interest in alternative grid schemes such as unstructured grids, which facilitate rapid grid generation by relaxing restrictions on grid structure. Three rotor models have been incorporated into a popular fixed-wing unstructured computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver to increase its capability and facilitate availability to the rotorcraft community. The benefit of unstructured grid methods is demonstrated through rapid generation of high fidelity configuration models. The simplest rotor model is the steady state actuator disk approximation. By transforming the unsteady rotor problem into a steady state one, the actuator disk can provide rapid predictions of performance parameters such as lift and drag. The actuator blade and overset blade models provide a depiction of the unsteady rotor wake, but incur a larger computational cost than the actuator disk. The actuator blade model is convenient when the unsteady aerodynamic behavior needs to be investigated, but the computational cost of the overset approach is too large. The overset or chimera method allows the blades loads to be computed from first-principles and therefore provides the most accurate prediction of the rotor wake for the models investigated. The physics of the flow fields of these models for rotor/fuselage interaction are explored, along with efficiencies and limitations of each methodology.