Aeroelastic response of a propulsive rotor blade with synthetic jets

Victor Maldonado, Nicolas Peralta, Serdar Gorumlu, Wolduamlak Ayele, Dioser Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the aeroelastic response of a propulsive rotor blade is critical to implementing active flow control techniques to mitigate blade structural vibration. In this experimental study, the coupling between rotor blade aerodynamic loading and first flap mode bending and torsion is explored. The three-bladed rotor is 2.58 m in diameter, and contains a NACA 0012 airfoil with zero pre-built twist. Each blade contains 20 high-performance synthetic jet actuators distributed along the span and are activated with a constant mean jet velocity of 66.3 m/s. The rotor was tested at rotor speeds, Ω of 250, 500, 750, and 1000 revolutions per minute (RPM) and collective blade pitch angles, θc of 2, 5, and 8 degrees. Rotor thrust and torque were measured using a high-capacity load cell, and the flow near the blade tip was measured using laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV) techniques. Blade bending and torsion was measured at three equally spaced radial stations on the blade root, middle, tip regions defined by r/R= 0.32, 0.64, and 0.96 respectively using three onboard electronic accelerometers. Synthetic jets reduce the near-wall streamwise velocity deficit and turbulence intensity in the near wall flow, improving the sectional lift coefficient of the blade and delaying flow separation which results in marginally higher thrust and lower torque loading of up to 7.4% and 4.3 % respectively. At higher rotor speeds of 750 and 1000 RPM, there is a pronounced non-linear increase in bending and torsion along blade span. In the blade tip region, the streamwise flow undergoes a significant decrease in velocity and momentum, which contributes to instabilities in the boundary layer with early-stage unsteady flow separation at θc= 8°. This is correlated to a dramatic rise in the baseline power spectral density (PSD) at the blade's natural frequency along with an increase in root mean square (rms) of bending acceleration and blade pitch angle, where the maximum values measured are arms= 0.74 g and θrms= 1.45°.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103411
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Aerodynamics
  • Propulsive rotor
  • Structural dynamics
  • Synthetic jets


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