Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Douglas Hunsaker


Robert E. Spall

Third Advisor:

Barton Smith


For aircraft that have propellers mounted in front of the wings or tail, the prop wash produced by the propellers can have a strong influence on the aerodynamics of the aircraft. As the accelerated air from the propeller flows over the wings and tail, it can cause an alteration in the aerodynamic forces produced by those surfaces. Thus, an understanding of propeller-wing interactions is essential for the design and analysis of many aircraft.

There are multiple existing methods for analyzing the propeller-wing interactions. High order methods, such as wind tunnel testing or computational fluid dynamics, provide very accurate results but come at a high cost in computation or labor. Low-order methods provide results with good accuracy at a significantly lower cost. Thus, it is desirable to use low-order methods for initial design and utilize higher order methods closer to the end of the design phase.

Current low-order models for propeller-wing interactions give reasonable results, but have shortcomings in either computational cost or accuracy. In an effort to improve on these existing models, an improved low-order model for propeller-wing interactions is proposed. This improved model utilizes several aerodynamic models such as blade element theory and lifting line theory as well as a novel turbulent prop wash model. The final model is shown to provide more accurate results using efficient numerical methods.