Variable speed rotor studies represent a promising research field for rotorcraft performance improvement and fuel consumption reduction. The problems related to employing a main rotor variable speed are numerous and require an interdisciplinary approach. There are two main variable speed concepts, depending on the type of transmission employed: Fixed Ratio Transmission (FRT) and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) rotors. The impact of the two types of transmission upon overall helicopter performance is estimated when both are operating at their optimal speeds. This is done by using an optimization strategy able to find the optimal rotational speeds of main rotor and turboshaft engine for each flight condition. The process makes use of two different simulation tools: a turboshaft engine performance code and a helicopter trim simulation code for steady-state level flight. The first is a gas turbine performance simulator (TSHAFT) developed and validated at the University of Padova. The second is a simple tool used to evaluate the single blade forces and integrate them over the 360 degree-revolution of the main rotor, and thus to predict an average value of the power load required by the engine. The results show that the FRT does not present significant performance differences compared to the CVT for a wide range of advancing speeds. However, close to the two conditions of maximum interest, i.e. hover and cruise forward flight, the discrepancies between the two transmission types become relevant: in fact, engine performance is found to be penalized by FRT, stating that significant fuel reductions can be obtained only by employing the CVT concept. In conclusion, FRT is a good way to reduce fuel consumption at intermediate advancing speeds; CVT advantages become relevant only near hover and high speed cruise conditions

Variable-speed rotor helicopters: Performance comparison between continuously variable and fixed-ratio transmissions

MISTE', GIANLUIGI ALBERTO;BENINI, ERNESTO
2016

Abstract

Variable speed rotor studies represent a promising research field for rotorcraft performance improvement and fuel consumption reduction. The problems related to employing a main rotor variable speed are numerous and require an interdisciplinary approach. There are two main variable speed concepts, depending on the type of transmission employed: Fixed Ratio Transmission (FRT) and Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) rotors. The impact of the two types of transmission upon overall helicopter performance is estimated when both are operating at their optimal speeds. This is done by using an optimization strategy able to find the optimal rotational speeds of main rotor and turboshaft engine for each flight condition. The process makes use of two different simulation tools: a turboshaft engine performance code and a helicopter trim simulation code for steady-state level flight. The first is a gas turbine performance simulator (TSHAFT) developed and validated at the University of Padova. The second is a simple tool used to evaluate the single blade forces and integrate them over the 360 degree-revolution of the main rotor, and thus to predict an average value of the power load required by the engine. The results show that the FRT does not present significant performance differences compared to the CVT for a wide range of advancing speeds. However, close to the two conditions of maximum interest, i.e. hover and cruise forward flight, the discrepancies between the two transmission types become relevant: in fact, engine performance is found to be penalized by FRT, stating that significant fuel reductions can be obtained only by employing the CVT concept. In conclusion, FRT is a good way to reduce fuel consumption at intermediate advancing speeds; CVT advantages become relevant only near hover and high speed cruise conditions
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3219739
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