CFD MODELING AND ANALYSIS OF ROTOR WAKE IN HOVER INTERACTING WITH A GROUND PLANE
Kalra, Tarandeep Singh
Baeder, James d
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The action of the rotor wake on loose sediment on the ground is primarily responsible for inducing the rotorcraft brownout phenomenon. Therefore, any simulation of brownout must be capable of accurately predicting the velocity field induced by the rotor when it is operating in ground effect. This work attempts to use a compressible, structured, overset Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) based solver to simulate hovering rotors in ground effect (IGE) to demonstrate the capability of the code to provide accurate tip vortex flow field predictions, and provide a good understanding of the ground-wake interactions. The computations are performed for a micro-scale rotor (0.086m radius, aspect ratio of 4.387 operating at a tip Mach number of 0.08 and Reynolds number of 32,500) and a sub-scale rotor (0.408m radius, aspect ratio of 9.132 operating at a tip Mach number of 0.24 and Reynolds number of 250,000) in order to compare to experimental measurements. The micro-scale rotor has a rectangular tip shape and is simulated three rotor heights: 1.5R, 1.0R and 0.5R above ground (R = Rotor radius). The sub-scale rotor is simulated at one particular rotor height (i.e. 1R) but with four different tip shapes: rectangular, swept, BERP-like and slotted tip. Various mesh placement strategies are devised to efficiently capture the path of the tip vortices for both regimes. The micro-scale rotor simulations are performed using the Spalart Allmaras (S-A) turbulence model. The examination of the IGE tip vortex flow field suggests high degree of instabilities close to the ground. In addition, the induced velocities arising from the proximity of the rotor tip vortices causes flow separation at the ground. The sub-scale rotor simulations show a smeared out flow field even at early wake ages due to excessive turbulence levels. The distance function in the S-A turbulence model is modified using the Delayed Detached Eddy Simulation (DDES) approach and a correction to length scaling is included for anistropic grids. The resulting computational flow field after these modifications compares well with the experiments. The slotted tip is seen to diffuse the tip vortices at early wake ages through injection of momentum and increased turbulence, and generates the least amount of unsteady pressure variation at the ground plane when compared with other three tip shapes.