ducted fan, electrical vertical takeoff and landing, eVTOL, electric fan, vortex particle method, VPM, large eddy simulation, LES, aerodynamics, panel


The vortex particle method has been reformulated in recent work as a large eddy simulation (LES) in a scheme that is both meshless and numerically stable, solving long-standing issues of numerical stability. In this study, we build upon this meshless LES scheme to create a simulation framework for electric ducted fans. This poses the challenge of introducing solid boundaries in the vorticity form of the Navier-Stokes equations without a mesh. Rotor blades are introduced in our computational domain through an actuator line model (ALM) following well-established practices for LES. A novel, vorticity-based, actuator surface model (ASM) is developed for the duct. This ASM imposes the no-flow-through condition along the duct surface through a panel method immersed in the LES. The panel method computes the surface vorticity, which is then introduced in the LES domain and shed along prescribed trailing edges. The ASM is validated by simulating a duct at various incidence angles and comparing results to experimental measurements. Preliminary results on a ducted fan, using ALM for the rotor and ASM for the duct, are presented. The models developed in this study are implemented and hereby released in the open-source solvers FLOWPanel and FLOWUnsteady.

Original Publication Citation

Alvarez, E. J., Joseph, C., and Ning, A., “Vortex Particle Method for Electric Ducted Fan in Non- Axisymmetric Flow,” AIAA Aviation Forum, San Diego, CA, June 2023. doi: 10.2514/6.2023-3376

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date







Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor