A generalized potential method for modeling rotor wake flows

Sven Schmitz, Mahendra Bhagwat, Francis X. Caradonna

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents a generalized and fast potential method for the computation of rotor wake flows. The potential solver is one that combines an Eulerian description of arbitrary vortical wake structures using the Vorticity-Embedding concept with a Lagrangian free wake advection scheme. Original implementation of the vorticity embedding for hover treated the wake as a single sheet from root to tip and used a cylindrical shaped grid to allow locally two-dimensional calculations for embedding. This approach was shown to be useful for engineering analysis by comparison against performance data for the model UH-60 rotor. A new formulation of embedding further decomposes these vortex sheets into smaller wake patches, each of which corresponds to a dipole. The advantage of this formulation is that it does not require the two-dimensionality assumption and can allow for arbitrary distortions of the wake sheets. This approach is first applied to a simple vortex ring problem and is compared to the original embedding formulation. Following this, the roll-up of vortex sheets is computed for the case of a single vortex ring sheet, a pair of vortex ring sheets, and for an elliptically loaded wing to demonstrate both the capability and the generality of the new embedding process. The paper concludes with a hover-type wake solution in an axisymmetric flowfield using the new embedding process, and gives an outlook on future developments that will extend the method to forward flight and full-vehicle configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference
StatePublished - 2009
Event27th AIAA Applied Aerodynamics Conference - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2009Jun 25 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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