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High Solidity, Low Tip-Speed Rotors for Reduced eVTOL Tonal Noise

Farhan Gandhi, Justin Pepe, Brendan Smith, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

May 10, 2022

https://doi.org/10.4050/F-0078-2022-17440

Abstract:
This paper reports on a computational study conducted on an 8 ft diameter, fixed-pitch eVTOL rotor to examine the potential of using increased solidity and reduced tip speed to reduce the radiated acoustic signature. The study is conducted for the rotor operating in hover and in vertical climb, and at disk loadings between 6–12 lb/ft2. Relative to a "nominal" rotor of solidity &σ;=0.0646 (with N=2 blades and a root chord, c=15.82 cm), two 3&σ; rotors (the 3&σ;3 rotor with N=3 and root chord of 2c, and the 3&σ;5 rotor with N=5 and root chord of 1.2c) operating at reduced tip speed are considered, as is a single 5&σ; rotor (with N=5 and root chord of 2c) operating at a further reduced tip speed. The high solidity, low tip-speed rotors showed significant reductions in in-plane noise, both in hover as well as vertical climb, and over the range of disk loadings considered. The noise reductions observed with the 3&σ;5 rotor were significantly greater than those obtained by the 3&σ;3 rotor (operating at the same tip speed), and very similar to those of the 5&σ; rotor (operating at a lower tip speed). But the rotor torque and power penalty for the 3&σ;5 rotor was considerably lower than that for the 5&σ; rotor. Overall, a high solidity in the range of 0.2 for eVTOL rotors is quite advantageous, but further increase to around 0.3 appears acoustically unnecessary while being aerodynamically detrimental. At a solidity of 3&σ;, going from 3 wider chord blades to 5 narrower chord blades was hugely influential for in-plane noise reduction. Of the configurations studied, the best (the 3&σ;5 rotor) showed 16–24 dB reductions in in-plane noise in hover, reducing to 14.5–20 dB at 5/ms climb rate, and 12.5–16 dB at 10 m/s climb rate, with larger reductions seen at lower disk loadings. Relative to the solidity-&σ; rotor, the 3&σ; rotors had a torque penalty of 41–44%, and power penalties ranging from 1.5–5% in hover, increasing to 7.5–10% at 10 m/s climb rate.


High Solidity, Low Tip-Speed Rotors for Reduced eVTOL Tonal Noise

  • Presented at Forum 78
  • 12 pages
  • SKU # : F-0078-2022-17440
  • Acoustics-III

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High Solidity, Low Tip-Speed Rotors for Reduced eVTOL Tonal Noise

Authors / Details:
Farhan Gandhi, Justin Pepe, Brendan Smith, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute