Experimental Study of the Effects of Bio-inspired Blades and 3D Printing on the Performance of a Small Propeller

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The paper presents results of an experimental study conducted to understand the effect of a bio-inspired blade planform on the small propeller thrust and energy consumption. In the study, the Cicada wing was used as a prototype for the blade planform. This blade planform was combined with symmetric (NACA 0015) and asymmetric (NACA 64(4)-221) airfoils resulting in two propellers with bio-inspired blades. The comparative analysis of these two propellers is complimented with the analysis of two propellers with rectangular blades with the same profiles: NACA 0015 and NACA 64(4)-221. The two airfoils were selected for the study based on a review of airfoils suitable for small rotorcrafts, which are of interest for our research. The blade span and the blade planform area of the four propellers are the same. The propellers were manufactured using the 3D printing technology, which affects the blade shape and surface. A study was conducted to analyze the effect of 3D printing on the performance of the propellers with the NACA 0015 blade profiles. In the paper, the performance of propellers with untreated blades, that is, right after their printing, is compared with that of the same propellers, but with the blades soaked several times in a chemical solvent that smoothed the blade surface/shape.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Jun 2018
EventAIAA Aviation Forum - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2018Jun 29 2018


ConferenceAIAA Aviation Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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