A higher-order free-wake method for propeller-wing systems

Julia A. Cole, Mark David Maughmer, Götz Bramesfeld, Michael P. Kinzel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


A higher-order free-wake (HOFW) method has been developed to enable conceptual design-space explorations of propeller-wing systems. The method uses higher-order vorticity elements to represent the wings and propeller blades as lifting surfaces. The higher order elements allow for improved force resolution and more intrinsically computationally stable wakes than a comparable vortex-lattice method, while retaining the relative ease of geometric representation inherent to such methods. The propeller and wing surfaces and wakes are modeled within the same flow field, thus accounting for mutual interaction without the need for empirical models. Time-averaged results found using the HOFW method were compared with experimental propeller, proprotor, and propeller-wing system data, along with two semi-empirical methods. The results show that the method is capable of performance prediction for lightly loaded propellers/proprotors and propeller-wing systems and can successfully predict design trends. In addition, the time required to define a geometry and solve for the flow field with the HOFW method as compared to that required with a CFD method make it particularly well suited for design-space exploration. These strengths were highlighted through a sample design study on a generic distributed propulsion vehicle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication35th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, 2017
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105012
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Event35th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, 2017 - Denver, United States
Duration: Jun 5 2017Jun 9 2017


Other35th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference, 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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