Date of Award

Spring 2023

Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Reda Mankbadi

First Committee Member

Anastasos Lyrintzis

Second Committee Member

Vladimir Golubev

Third Committee Member

Willaim MacKunis

College Dean

James Gregory


Significant developments have been made in designing and implementation of Advanced Air Mobility Vehicles (AAMV). However, wider applications in urban areas require addressing several challenges, such as safety and quietness. These vehicles differ from conventional helicopter in that they operate at a relatively lower Reynolds number. More chiefly, they operate with multiples of rotors, which may pose some issues aerodynamically, as well as acoustically. The aim of this research is to first investigate the various noise sources in multi-rotor systems. High-fidelity simulations of two in-line counter-rotating propellers in hover, and in forward flight conditions are performed. Near field flow and acoustic properties were resolved using Hybrid LES-Unsteady RANS approach. Far-field sound predictions were performed using Ffowcs-Williams-Hawkings formulation. The two-propeller results in hovering are compared with that of the single propeller. This enabled us to identify the aerodynamic changes resulting from the proximity of the two propellers to each other and to understand the mechanisms causing the changes in the radiated sound. It was discovered that there is a dip in the thrust due to the relative proximity of the rotors. Owing to this, there is also some acoustic banding above the rotors mainly because they operate at the same rotational rate. We then considered the forward flight case and compared it with the corresponding hovering case. This enabled us to identify the aerodynamic changes resulting from the incoming stream. By examining the near acoustic field, the far-field spectra, the Spectral Proper Orthogonal Decomposition, and by conducting periodic averaging, we were able to identify the sources of the changes to the observed tonal and broadband noise. The convection of the oncoming flow was seen to partially explain the observed enhancement in the tonal and BBN, compared to the hovering case. It is well known that High fidelity methods are critical in predicting the full spectrum of rotor acoustics. However, these methods can be prohibitively expensive. We present here an investigation of the feasibility of reduction methods such as Proper Orthogonal Decomposition as well as Dynamic Mode decomposition for reduction of data obtained via Hybrid Large-Eddy – Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes approach (HLES) to be used further to obtain additional parameters. Specifically, we investigate how accurate reduced models of the high-fidelity computations can be used to predict the far-field noise. It was found that POD was capable of reconstructing accurately the parameters of interest with 15-40% of the total mode energies, whereas the DMD could only reconstruct primitive parameters such as velocity and pressure loosely. A rank truncation convergence criterion > 99.8% was needed for better performance of the DMD algorithm. In the far-field spectra, DMD could only predict the tonal contents in the lower- mid frequencies whiles the POD could reproduce all frequencies of interest. Lastly, we develop an active rotor noise control technology to reduce the in-plane thickness noise associated with multi-rotor Advanced Air Mobility Vehicles (AAMV). An actuation signal is determined via the Ffowcs-Williams-Hawking (FWH) formula. Two in-line rotors are considered and we showed that the FWH-determined actuation signal can produce perfect cancellation at a point target. However, the practical need is to achieve noise reduction over an azimuthal zone, not just a single point. To achieve this zonal noise reduction, an optimization technique is developed to determine the required actuation signal produced by the on-blade distribution of embedded actuators on the two rotors. For the specific geometry considered here, this produced about 9 dB reduction in the in-plane thickness noise during forward flight of the two rotors. We further developed a technology that replaces using a point actuator on each bladed by distributed micro actuators system to achieve the same noise reduction goal with significantly reduced loading amplitudes per actuator. Overall, this research deepens the knowledge base of multi-rotor interaction. We utilize several techniques for extracting various flow and acoustic features that help understand the dynamics of such systems. Additionally, we provide a more practical approach to active rotor noise control without a performance penalty to the rotor system.

PhD AE title page.pdf (182 kB)
Title Page with signatures

GS9_Acceptance.pdf (422 kB)