Development and commissioning of a test stand for the optimization of propellers

As part of the OptiProp project, Deutsche Windguard Engineering GmbH and the University of Bremen, BIMAQ, are developing and manufacturing two test rigs for propeller drive units of different power classes (2.5 kW and 20 kW, respectively). A switchable stereo particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurement system is to be integrated into the existing measurement system of the aeroacoustic wind tunnel in Bremerhaven. Of particular interest in the integration of the PIV system is a fast and thus cost-efficient operational readiness of the system for different measurement tasks in the wind tunnel. With the help of the extensive optical and acoustic sensor technology, the wind tunnel will be used to research design and optimization strategies for pioneering propulsion concepts for electric flight, such as Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP). The main advantage of these electric propulsion systems is reduced energy consumption, no emission of CO2 and nitrogen oxides (NOX) during operation, and reduced acoustic emissions. They also enable redesign of flight systems with more favorable load distributions or reduced need for control and high-lift elements. To establish electric propulsion in aviation, the following key challenges must be solved in combination: Weight savings with increased electrical system energy storage capacity, thermal management, flight control, safety, and certification. Wind tunnel testing makes a critical contribution to the development, optimization, and ultimately certification of new aerospace propulsion systems. An automated propeller test rig in combination with unified procedures is currently not commercially available in Europe for the planned power classes in the required design. The results of OptiProp will therefore strengthen the state of Bremen as a high-tech and aviation location beyond the region.

Funding authority:European Union - European Regional Development Fund
Funding ID:989/PFAU-FUE-V-14-2/2021-ZB