Numerical simulation of vortex instabilities in the wake of a preswirl pumpjet propulsor

Denghui Qin, Qiaogao Huang, Guang Pan, Peng Han, Yang Luo, Xinguo Dong

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A numerical analysis based on detached eddy simulations is conducted to investigate vortex instabilities in the wake of a preswirl pumpjet propulsor. Three models are established to separate the roles that the rotor, stator, and duct play in the vortex structure of the pumpjet propulsor. In this paper, only the vortex structure of the rotor is considered. The results show that the vortex system of the rotor is mainly composed of the tip vortices, a hub vortex, the trailing tip vortices, and the trailing root vortices. The trailing tip vortices are generated by the premature shedding of the tip vortices in the rotor model compared with a normal single propeller. The existence of trailing root vortices increases the stability of the hub vortex. Furthermore, a unique multi-inductance instability mode of the tip vortex, called the "overlap–forward" phenomenon, is found for low values of the advance coefficient J. It is found that the instability of the tip vortex depends not only on the spiral-to-spiral distance but also on the highest-efficiency point of the propeller. The instability inception point of the tip vortex moves farther downstream with increasing J, whereas when J is greater than the highest-efficiency point of the propeller, the stable length of the tip vortices drops sharply. The energy transfer process from blade harmonics to shaft harmonics of the tip vortices depends on J and is related to the spatial evolution of the tip vortices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number055119
Number of pages23
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number5
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 May 2021


  • numerical simulation
  • vortex
  • instabilities
  • wake
  • preswirl pumpjet propulsor


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