Full-Scale Reynolds Number Testing of Rotor Hub Drag and Wake Turbulence

David B. Reich, Michael H. Krane, Steven M. Willits, Sven Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A 1:4.25-scale model of a generic helicopter rotor hub was tested at Reynolds numbers ranging from 1.75 × 106 to 7 × 106 at advance ratio of 0.2 in The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory Garfield Thomas 48-inch diameter water tunnel. Measurements including drag and wake characteristics were performed up to full-scale Reynolds number with respect to an industry-representative helicopter rotor hub. In particular, the variation of drag and flow field with Reynolds number was characterized. Load measurements were conducted using an improved load cell design, with greater accuracy than in previous experiments. Wake velocity was measured using laser Doppler velocimetry at two downstream planes, yielding velocity statistics to the second order. Improved load measurement accuracy and wake velocity spatial resolution, at full-scale Reynolds number, provide a unique dataset for computational fluid dynamics validation as part of the Penn State Rotor Hub Flow Prediction Workshops and physical insight into rotor hub flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042008
JournalJournal of the American Helicopter Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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