RHRC AWARDED NASA SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATIVE
January 29, 2009 - Rolling Hills Research Corporation
has been selected by NASA for a $100,000
Phase I Small Business Innovative Research contract.
has selected for development 368 small business innovation projects from
more than 1,600 proposals. The awards are part of NASA's Small Business
Innovation Research, or SBIR, and Small Business Technology Transfer, or STTR,
An important mission for NASA is the development of
revolutionary flight concepts and technology. The development of unmanned air
vehicles (UAVs), the resurgence of general aviation, and growing interest in
environmentally conscious, all-electric, emissionless aircraft have brought
about a renewed interest in propeller design. Overall, since the propeller's
golden age during the WWII era, very little has changed in propeller design.
Computers have automated the design processes, but the basic design methodology,
from an aerodynamic point of view has changed very little. Strides have been
made in acoustics and multidisciplinary optimization (MDO), but the basic
aerodynamic design and performance of the subsonic propeller has basically
remained unchanged. The explosion of UAVs and a need for more efficient designs
allowing greater payload, range, and loiter times have taken UAVs from simple
cut-and-try designs to sophisticated, aerodynamically efficient systems. An area
as of yet not fully exploited by this class of aircraft, is that of propeller
efficiency. Most smaller UAVs and micro-UAVs simply use off-the-shelf radio
control propellers, while moderate size UAVs rely on propellers designed using
classical blade element theory or those derived for general aviation aircraft.
While these propellers provide industry acceptable levels of thrust for a given
torque, the majority of propellers suffer some form of flow separation. The
extent of flow separation can range from small areas in cruise regions of the
flight envelope, to large areas during climb and wind milling. Significant
propeller performance gains in the form of increased thrust and reduced torque
can be obtained by eliminating these separated regions across the flight
envelope. A simple, efficient, and robust flow control technique is proposed to
eliminate these separated regions and provide a marked increase in propeller
performance and vehicle propulsive performance.
Dr. Mike Kerho will be the Principal Investigator for this research program.