Wake Analysis of an Aerodynamically Optimized Boxprop High Speed Propeller
Journal article, 2019
The Boxprop is a novel, double-bladed, tip-joined propeller for high-speed flight. The concept draws inspiration from the box wing concept and could potentially decrease tip vortex strength compared with conventional propeller blades. Early Boxprop designs experienced significant amounts of blade interference. By performing a wake analysis and quantifying the various losses of the flow, it could be seen that these Boxprop designs produced 45% more swirl than a conventional reference blade. The reason for this was the proximity of the Boxprop blade halves to each other, which prevented the Boxprop from achieving the required aerodynamic loading on the outer parts of the blade. This paper presents an aerodynamic optimization of a 6-bladed Boxprop aiming at maximizing efficiency and thrust at cruise. A geometric parametrization has been adopted which decreases interference by allowing the blade halves to be swept in opposite directions. Compared with an earlier equal-thrust Boxprop design, the optimized design features a 7% percentage point increase in propeller efficiency and a lower amount of swirl and entropy generation. A vortex-like structure has also appeared downstream of the optimized Boxprop, but with two key differences relative to conventional propellers. (1) Its formation differs from a traditional tip vortex and (2) it is 46% weaker than the tip vortex of an optimized 12-bladed conventional propeller.