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Prediction of Brownout Inception Beneath a Full-Scale Helicopter Downwash

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Dust entrained by low flying helicopters leads to the degraded visual environment, brownout. Particle inception is a critical stage in the development of the dust cloud. Here, near-wall Lagrangian particle forces are considered through analyzing an approximate time-averaged full-scale rotor flow. This simplified flow does not attempt to predict brownout, instead it provides scales and velocity data in the near-wall region, compares the role of particle-fluid forces, and provides a foundation for Lagrangian entrainment models. The analysis shows that three characteristic particle sizes are exposed to different physics in different boundary layer zones, a function of the distance from the helicopter. Drag is the dominant aerodynamic force, cohesion is large for small particles, but wall-bounded lift is sufficient to entrain medium-sized particles. A complementary analytical prediction of tip vortices found that both large-scale inviscid features and small-scale viscous features of the boundary layer are significant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-10-01

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  • The Journal of the American Helicopter Society is the world's only scientific journal dedicated to vertical flight technology. It is a peer-reviewed technical journal published quarterly by AHS International and presents innovative papers covering the state-of-the-art in all disciplines of rotorcraft design, research and development. (Please note that AHS members receive significant discounts on articles and subscriptions.)

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    Authors can find submission guidelines and related information on the AHS website.

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