Ice accretion effects in helicopter rotor performance via multi-body and CFD approaches

Daniel Kelly, Wagdi G. Habashi, Giuseppe Quaranta, Pierangelo Masarati, Marco Fossati

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A numerical approach for assessing the degraded aerodynamics and flight characteristics of ice-contaminated helicopter rotors is proposed. A hybrid two- and three-dimensional loose coupling strategy between Multibody Dynamics modeling and Computational Fluid Dynamics icing is formulated that attempts to balance computational resources, model complexity and accuracy for use during the early-design phases. A quasi-3D formulation that considers the heat transfer and the motion of the water film due to centrifugal effects is introduced. The method is suited for the analysis of rime, glaze and/or mixed ice conditions. Degraded aerodynamic and dynamic characteristics of the iced rotor and the changes in flight performance are assessed. The technique has been applied to the scenario of isolated helicopter rotors in hover and in forward flight. Deterioration of the figure of merit is also presented.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number3
Early online date5 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018


  • helicopter rotors
  • aerodynamic characteristics
  • ice accretion
  • rotor blades


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