vortex particle method, multirotor, eVTOL, electric propulsion


Distributed electric propulsion and vertical take-off and landing has recently opened a new design space for urban air mobility. However, the use of multiple rotors operating in close proximity introduces complicated aerodynamic interactions that are not well understood, are not captured through conventional design tools, and need to be addressed in the conceptual design stage. This study investigates the accuracy of the viscous vortex particle method (VPM) in modeling rotor-on-rotor aerodynamic interactions in a side- by-side configuration as encountered in tilt-rotor, quadrotor, and distributed propulsion aircraft. The VPM approach has the potential to enable the use of mid/high fidelity models capturing multirotor interactions during conceptual design. Validation of the individual rotor is presented in both hovering and forward-flight configurations at both low and high Reynolds numbers. Validation of the hovering multirotor is then presented, followed by a detailed parametric study of rotor-to-rotor interactions during hover and forward flight, constructing the response surface of thrust, torque, and propulsive efficiency as a function of operational parameters.

Original Publication Citation

Alvarez, E. J., and Ning, A., “Modeling Multirotor Aerodynamic Interactions Through the Vortex Particle Method,” AIAA Aviation Forum, Dallas, TX, Jun. 2019. doi:10.2514/6.2019-2827

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date







Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

Included in

Engineering Commons