On the integrated aerodynamic design of a propeller-wing system

Julia A. Cole, Travis Krebs, Devin Barcelos, Alton Yeung, Götz Bramesfeld

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


In this study, potential cruise efficiency gains of a propeller-wing system are investigated through the consideration of the integrated aerodynamics of propellers and wings during the design process. The baseline propeller-wing system is a variant of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell in cruise configuration. The design space considered consists of the number, location, rotational direction, and diameters of propellers as well as the wing chord distribution. The objective is to maximize the aerodynamic efficiency as measured through the trimmed averaged propeller power and is pursued with an evolutionary algorithm. The aerodynamic analysis is conducted with a higher-order free-wake potential flow method that is supplemented with a profile drag estimation through strip theory in order to account for viscous effects. In agreement with the literature, the results indicate that larger diameter propellers rotating up-inboard at the wingtips are the most aerodynamically efficient option; however, only modest penalties exist for well designed multi-propeller systems. In addition, when the design space is restricted to smaller, more heavily loaded propellers, a local optimum exists with the propeller hub much closer to the root of the wing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105784
StatePublished - 2019
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2019Jan 11 2019

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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