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Particle Image Velocimetry

Hovering Helicopter Rotor Wake

Courtesy: University of Maryland Application Note StereoPIV-001

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An improved understanding of the formation and evolution of the wake and tip vortices trailed from the blades of a helicopter rotor is one key to advanced vehicle designs. The blade loads and overall performance of the rotor system are highly dependent upon the strengths and locations of the tip vortices relative to the rotor. In addition, during descending low-speed forward flight, blade-vortex interaction (BVI) results in locally large unsteady airloads on the blades, leading to increased rotor vibration levels and the generation of impulsive rotor noise.

A PowerViewStereoPIV system was used to make measurements in the wake field of a helicopter rotor. The single rotor blade is shown as well as the motor and counterweight. The rotor is thrusting upwards and the flow passes down through the X-Y plane. Trailing from the tip of the blade is a vortex filament shown by the red line. In contrast

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