← Louis Gagnon : projets achevés

An aeroelastic study of

cycloidal rotors

used in various configurations

↓ activities - last updated 31 October 2017

  • Doing a 3-week visit at FSG - University of Zagreb to develop a coupled MBDyn-OpenFOAM fluid-structure interaction approach
  • Implemented vibration control into the control optimization, see my new helicopter video and its description for more info
  • Helicopter and Heligyro Multibody (MBDyn) models:
    • fly totally autonomously, but
      • will implement comfort control in the tuning process to avoid "accepting" strong cabin vibrations
      • energy consumption with cycloidal rotors is very high, because:
        • 1) so far limited dimensions to a compact Heligyro and thus need strong cycloidal rotors to produce adequate torque
        • 2) weight estimation is still not perfect, I suspect it is grossly overestimated and will use a better approximation as the one I use for the 3D printed drone
          • last Heligyro multibody dynamics video prior to final control tuning
  • Starting a new cycloidal rotor CFD modeling cycle
    • so far, only setup the Cyclomobile, ready for optimization or implementation of a faster CFD method

project description

The cycloidal rotor concept has existed for one century. Only recently it is getting worldwide attention in the aeronautical research sector. Its high complexity prevented until recent advances in aerodynamic and structural analyses to setup safe experimental programs.

I am currently developing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and multibody dynamics (MBD) models to study cycloidal rotors in the following configurations:

(a) Heligyro: replacing the tail rotor of a helicopter.

(b) Quadricyclogyro: four-rotor short span aircraft. An example is the D-Dalus from IAT21.

(c) Cyclowing: propeller of a two-rotor aircraft, using a configuration similar to the Fanwing.

(d) Cyclomobile: active spoiler for a ground vehicle.

When considering new configurations, it is essential to also study the energy consumption, handling and stability of the vehicle, which are interdependent aspects. The absence of models which consider the vehicle as a whole prevents proving or refuting the real effectiveness of the proposed applications. I am thus creating full vehicle multibody models for concepts (a), the Heligyro; (b), the Quadricyclogyro; and (d), the Cyclomobile. I am creating comprehensive CFD models for concepts (a), the Heligyro; (c), the Cyclowing; and (d), the Cyclomobile. These models should allow me to find stable and efficient configurations for each of the four concepts. I also plan to extend the current analytical models to represent a greater range of operating conditions. I will use them to setup the proper initial parameters of the comprehensive CFD and MBD models.

completed activities

  • Submitted a proposal for a 2018 ERC Starting Grant to study automotive applications of cycloidal rotors
  • Submitted an article to relate the drone efficiency optimization for 3D printing
  • Participated for a third year in a row to the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) with MBDyn as administrator. Co-mentor for
  • Published the updated OpenFOAM moving-wall-slip boundary condition and embedded-AMI interface motion on GitHub
  • Tuned the Helicopter/Heligyro model to perform totally free flight with different scenarios
    • inserted filters in the multibody model control algorithm and the helicopter is now much more stable, see the video
    • switched from Gnu Octave to Dakota for parallel control parameters optimization
  • Planned the fabrication of a cycloidal rotor and a to be part of a small drone
    • 3D printing tests with nylon
    • dimensioned the rotor by optimization of the aerodynamic analytic equations
    • set up an hybrid gradient-based optimization of the drone analytic dimensioning using SageMath and Dakota
  • Setup a simple blog to post a selection of the solutions I find to the many computer/numerical/science problems I encounter everyday
  • Attended the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit in San Francisco at the end of October 2016
  • Participated for MBDyn into the Google Code-in with Fossasia
  • Submitted an article covering the creation of a cyclogyro aircraft model with OpenFOAM for a Springer book chapter
  • Developed multibody models for mission analysis of the Heligyro, a Helicopter, and a Quadricyclogyro
  • Submitted a long awaited aeroelastic analysis of cycloidal rotors article to the Journal of Aircraft
  • Submitted an article on the 3D aerodynamics of the D-Dalus quad rotor cyclogiro.. resubmitting...
  • Participated as administrator and mentor in the Google Summer of Code 2016 with Kuldeep Singh as our student who implemented a Double Multiple Streamtube cycloidal rotor inflow model in MBDyn
  • Presented at the IMSD2016 conference
  • Presented at the 11th OpenFOAM workshop

related conference publications

Cycloidal rotor aerodynamic and aeroelastic analysis

Feasibility Assesment: A Cycloidal Rotor to Replace Conventional Helicopter Technology

PECyT - Plasma enhanced cycloidal thruster

Numerical Modelling of Geometrical Effects in the Performance of a Cycloidal Rotor

Aerodynamic and Aeroelastic Analysis of a Cycloidal Rotor

Cyclogyro thrust vectoring for anti-torque and control of helicopters


Polimi International Fellowship