Aerodynamic investigation of an over-the-wing propeller for distributed propulsion

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This paper addresses the aerodynamic performance and numerical modeling of over-the-wing propellers. Installing the propeller above a wing has the potential to increase wing lift-to-drag ratio, high-lift capabilities, and to reduce flyover noise. However, the prediction of its performance is difficult, since research on the aerodynamic interaction effects of over-the-wing propellers has been limited so far. For this reason, an exploratory wind tunnel campaign was performed with a wing featuring a fowler flap. A single propeller was installed above the wing at different chordwise locations and inclination angles. Wing surface-pressure and wake-pressure measurements showed strong, bilateral aerodynamic coupling between the propeller and wing. A configuration with the propeller attached to the flap showed wing lift increases of 8% and 3% in cruise and high-lift conditions, respectively. The key findings of the wind tunnel campaign were used to validate a low-fidelity numerical tool, which combines a non-uniform inflow blade-element model for the propeller, a panel method for the wing, and a vortex lattice model for the propeller slipstream. The numerical model was used to assess the effect of propeller axial location and diameter. Results indicated that the optimal axial propeller position is near the trailing edge of the wing, and that reducing the propeller diameter at constant thrust coefficient at this location is beneficial for distributed propulsion applications. The tool allows a rapid computation of over-the-wing propeller and wing performance in cruise conditions. This enables an efficient design space exploration during the conceptual design process of such configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781624105241
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2018 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: 8 Jan 201812 Jan 2018


ConferenceAIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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