Computational Characterization of Unsteadiness and Turbulence in Rotor Hub Wakes

Forrest J. Mobley, Tristan D. Wall, James G. Coder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reynolds stresses and turbulent kinetic energy are studied in the wakes of several helicopter rotor hub geometries in forward flight. Computational fluid dynamics simulations are performed using NASA’s OVERFLOW 2.2n Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes solver. The simulations impose flow conditions based on previous and current experimental and numerical studies. Discrete Fourier transforms are used to examine velocity harmonics for several frequencies and compared against available experimental results. Components of the Reynolds stress tensor are computed and examined. Production and transport of the turbulent kinetic energy are examined through the rotor hub wakes at six streamwise coordinates. It was found that the scissor arms, previously found to have a significant effect on rotor hub force harmonics, also had a significant effect on the magnitudes of Reynolds stresses and turbulent kinetic energy. Integrated values of turbulent kinetic energy flux indicate that drag-reducing designs have a direct effect on turbulent kinetic energy levels in the wake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012007
JournalJournal of the American Helicopter Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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