Contribution of Swirl Recovery to the Induced Drag of a Propeller-Wing System – A Parametric Study

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With the rise of distributed propeller concepts, there is an increased interest in quantifying the interaction between propeller slipstream and wing. It is known from literature that the local upwash induced by the propeller swirl can lead to a reduction of the wing-induced drag, a phenomenon often referred to as swirl recovery. However, at the same time, the distortion of the lift distribution due to the slipstream interaction cancels part of the swirl recovery benefit. These two separate mechanisms are often grouped together, but their relative contribution to the change in induced drag of a propeller-wing system is unknown. The goal of this paper is to separate the two mechanisms and to quantify their relative importance in terms of the induced drag of a wing immersed in a propeller slipstream. To this end, an improved approach for fast low-order modeling of the interaction between propeller and wing was implemented. The propeller performance is calculated using a BEM model, after which the induced velocities in the slipstream are modeled using a slipstream tube model. The propeller-induced velocities then have been implemented into a vortex-lattice analysis of the wing, including an often overlooked correction for the finite slipstream height experienced by the wing sections immersed in the propeller slipstream. It was found that the tip-mounted configuration with an inboard-up rotating propeller showed the largest reduction in total induced drag, even though the spanwise lift distribution was disturbed the most compared to other spanwise propeller positions. The swirl-induced drag mechanism outweighs the trailing vortex-induced drag mechanism. This is also true when the propeller is rotating in the other direction, when the largest performance degradation is obtained for the tip-mounted configuration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA AVIATION 2023 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-704-7
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventAIAA AVIATION 2023 Forum - San Diego, United States
Duration: 12 Jun 202316 Jun 2023


ConferenceAIAA AVIATION 2023 Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


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