Researchers at the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology are able to measure complex flow phenomena such as those that occur on helicopter rotors, and to evaluate the resulting data automatically.
Measuring and evaluating complex airflows
The Helicopters Department (AS-HEL) large-scale facility is based on an automated system for evaluating the data obtained from rotor testing, which was developed at DLR. The facility consists of a measurement section where turbulence-free airflows are generated, and the actual rotor test stand, which has a 65-kilowatt rotor drive. The facility can be optimally configured for the required measurements due to the choice of different rotor heads that may be selected.
In particular, transient measurements in the transonic range are possible. Optical density measurements can also be performed on rapidly rotating propellers or rotors. Transient velocity field measurements at frequencies of up to one kilohertz are also possible. The primary aim of the RTG (1MG) is to provide measurement data to assist with the development of measurement technologies for helicopter aerodynamics. The facility’s hardware and software are suitable for industrial use and thus for winning new projects from clients.
The scientific findings of the test series are very significant for DLR and its projects. The large-scale RTG facility allows commitments to be met in terms of the Aviation Research Programme (Luftfahrtforschungsprogramm, LuFo) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie; BMWi) and projects by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG), as well as maintaining and building up national partnerships (university education, Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral programmes) and international cooperative efforts (for example, with NLR, ONERA and NASA). In addition, the RTG gives DLR unique national capacities and capabilities compared with its counterparts in the UK and France.