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A Novel Look at the Performance of the Cyclorotor Propulsion System for Air Vehicles

[+] Author Affiliations
José C. Páscoa

University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal

Antonio Dumas, Michele Trancossi

Universitá degli Studi di Modena Reggio Emilia, Reggio-Emilia, Italy

Paper No. IMECE2012-85544, pp. 455-462; 8 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 1: Advances in Aerospace Technology
  • Houston, Texas, USA, November 9–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4517-2
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


A system in which a rotating-wing device, comprising several pitching blades, turns around an axis along the span of the blades is called a cyclorotor. During the azimuthal rotation of the blades they also experience a change in the pitch angle. For each of the blades its pitch is varied cyclically by mechanical means such that the blades experience positive angles of attack at both the top and bottom positions of the azimuth cycle. The resultant unsteady motion of each blade can then be summed up into a resultant lift and drag forces. An almost instantaneous variation of magnitude and direction of the total cyclo rotor thrust can be obtained by changing the amplitude and phase of the cyclic blade pitch. In this rotor, conversely to classical propellers, each spanwise blade element operates at similar flow velocities, Reynolds numbers and incidence, this allows an easier blade optimization to achieve the best aerodynamic efficiency. Further, the cyclorotor is based on using dynamic pitching in order to delay stall and in this way increase the lift produced by the blades. Realistic flying vehicles have only be presented for the MAV-scale, its use on large scale vehicles turns problematic, herein we will analyze its stopovers. Finally, a very advantageous characteristic is the possibility to achieve almost instantaneous thrust variation in any direction perpendicular to the rotational axis, this will result in an air vehicle with a much better maneuverability, as compared with vehicles powered by classical rotor systems. This comes at a cost of a larger structure which might lead to a weight penalty.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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