Aerodynamic Analysis of an Unmanned Cyclogiro Aircraft
Very little is currently known of the aerodynamic interaction between neighboring cycloidal rotors. Such knowledge is, however, of crucial importance to tune the controller and rotor disposition of a cyclogiro aircraft. Thus, a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model is developed, validated, and used to analyze the D-Dalus L1 four-rotor unmanned aircraft operating under several configurations. The model solves the Euler equations using the OpenFOAM toolbox in order to provide fast results on a desktop computer. Validation is performed against thrust forces and flow streamlines obtained during wind tunnel experiments at various flight velocities. Numerical results from CFD match the trends of the experimental data. Flow behavior matches the video footage of the wind tunnel tests. Although boundary layer effects are neglected, satisfactory results are obtained both qualitatively and quantitatively.