Unconventional Swept Rotor Design using Open Vehicle Sketch Pad (OpenVSP)


TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Rotors are a crucial component of VTOL(vertical take-off and landing) devices like unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or helicopters, etc., By generating a rotational force, they create the necessary thrust to lift and maneuver the vehicle in the air. In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on developing rotor designs that are more efficient and effective for eVTOL. This has led to the emergence of several unconventional swept rotor designs that can improve aerodynamic and aeroacoustic performance. The present thesis aims to investigate the impact of achieving a balanced sweep distribution across a rotor blade and how it affects aerodynamic performance. The study explores the potential benefits and drawbacks of unconventional swept rotor designs and compares their performance curves to traditional straight rotor designs. The investigation begins with an overview of rotor design criteria and literature on swept rotor designs. A comprehensive design and analysis of the aerodynamic performance of various rotor designs are conducted using NASA's OpenVSP and VSPAero, a low-fidelity solver that implements the Vortex lattice method. The results are then compared with wind tunnel experiments. Based on the load distribution analysis of multiple sweep designs, it is noted that swept rotors exhibit decreased performance at lower advance ratios. However, as the speed or advance ratio increases, the overall performance of swept rotors significantly improves. This conclusion is drawn from the load distribution data obtained for each blade of the rotors, and by comparing the figure of merit (FOM) of various designs.



Rotor Aerodynamics, Performance Analysis, OpenVSP, VSPAero, Sweep.