CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS THE UNDERSTANDING OF ROTOR-INDUCED DUST PARTICLE MOBILIZATION AND TRANSPORT
Sydney, Anish Joshua
Leishman, John G
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To better understand the problem of rotor-induced particle motion and rotorcraft brownout, time-resolved, dual-phase particle image velocimetry and particle tracking velocimetry measurements were made in the flow produced by a small laboratory rotor that was hovering over a ground plane covered with a mobile sediment bed. To investigate the three-dimensionality of the wake and resultant particle field, flow measurements were made in vertical and horizontal planes around the rotor and near the ground. The primary goals of the work were to: 1. Characterize the fundamental flow physics of a rotor wake interacting with a sediment bed; 2. Investigate how rotor operating parameters, such as the disk loading, blade loading coefficient, and wake shedding frequency affected the mobilization, uplift and overall development of the particle field; 3. Examine the effects of placing a body between the rotor and the ground to understand how the interactions of the rotor wake with the body affected the transport of particles from the bed. The results showed that the rotor wake was very three-dimensional, with highly non-uniform velocities near the ground that resulted in the radially asymmetric mobilization, uplift and suspension of particles. The tip vortices were found to be the primary contributor to the uplift of particles, with the aperiodic variations in their trajectories near the ground causing intermittent particle mobilization events. These effects were caused, in part, by wave-like displacements that developed along the lengths of the tip vortices, which caused some parts of the filaments to convect closer to the ground than other parts and so uplift discrete bursts or plumes of particles. The quantity and distribution of uplifted particles were shown to be affected by the operating condition of the rotor, with the overall complexity of the rotor wake generally resulting in the formation of a highly three-dimensional and time-varying particle field. The rotor operating parameters were shown to interdependently alter the characteristics of the groundwash flow and the tip vortices produced by the rotor. Stronger wake vortices that impinged on the bed generally uplifted more particles, however, higher near-wall flow velocities over the bed also convected particles further downstream before they could be suspended. The near-wall flow developments were further complicated by the interaction of the rotor wake with a body, which significantly distorted the development of the rotor wake at the ground, the resulting near-wall flow velocities generally being lower in magnitude. The degree of wake distortion, however, was found to be sensitive to the cross-sectional shape of the body. In cases where there was direct impingement of the tip vortices on the body surfaces, the distortions to the wake caused lower near-wall flow velocities but still contained vortices that were able to suspend sediment particles radially closer to the rotor compared to the isolated rotor case.