Online Course: Rotor and Wake Aerodynamics

TU Delft Open & Online Education

Program Description

Online Course: Rotor and Wake Aerodynamics

TU Delft Open & Online Education

Rotor and wake aerodynamics are key to many applications such as helicopter and propeller rotors in transport and wind turbines for electricity generation. But rotors have a tendency to generate three-dimensional unsteady aerodynamic phenomena that are complex both to understand and to model.

For anyone working in the development and production of helicopter or wind turbine blades, this course is invaluable. It will deliver a depth of knowledge of the science and an ability to apply the technology that will enhance the careers of those already in the industry and the prospects of those wishing to enter it.

The course focuses on the following topics:

  • Momentum theory applied to rotor simulation and design and potential flow models for rotors
  • Airfoil aerodynamics
  • Unsteady aerodynamics
  • Aeroacoustics
  • Wake aerodynamic

After successfully completing the course, you will be able to:

  • design or source models which can represent the aerodynamics of different rotor configurations
  • appraise different models and critique their suitability
  • analyze complex rotor flows (rotors in yaw, wind farms, etc.)
  • identify and summarize the main fluid phenomena and evaluate their interaction
  • integrate different models to analyze the flow and combine the different models, evaluating their limitations and overlap
  • design a rotor from an aerodynamic perspective

Modeling can be carried out in any programming language, for example, MATLAB, C, or Python.


To effectively conceptualize and design a rotor, it is necessary to combine the fundamental and modeling perspectives of the rotor. In this course, we provide an overview of the phenomena in the aerodynamics of rotors, with special emphasis on Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine Rotors. Propellers, vertical axis (crossflow) wind turbine rotors and helicopter rotors will also be addressed, but in less detail.

There will be hands-on introductions to the different computational models used nowadays to analyze the aerodynamics of rotors, with a focus on vortex models.

The course includes:

  • An introduction to rotary wing aerodynamics with applications in aircraft, propulsion, fans and wind turbines.
  • A discussion of conservation laws, actuator disk/momentum theory, and limitations.
  • An examination of helicopter rotor vertical flight and "windmill brake" state. How to calculate a figure of merit.
  • Understanding the Betz optimum for wind turbines and lift and drag devices and the blade element momentum method.
  • "Tip" correction methods, correction for a finite number of blades and heavily loaded rotors are examined.
  • The aerodynamic characteristics of airfoils for rotor applications and the properties of pitch and stall controlled wind turbines are explored as a precursor to a wind turbine rotor blade design exercise.
  • There is a study of vortex line methods, vortex wake structure, Frozen, and free wakes and vortex core modeling. These are followed by the exploration of vortex panel methods, advanced wake models and the acceleration potential method.
  • Detailed study of rotor near wake structure, experimental wake velocities, and wake vorticity structures.
  • Examination of 3D effects, stall delay, yawed flow and dynamic inflow and autogiro and helicopter rotor aerodynamics in forward flight.
  • Unsteady aerodynamics and dynamic stall effects, the effects of tower shadow and wind shear and Theodorsen's Theory.
  • Vertical axis wind turbine rotors and the Voight-Schneider propeller
  • Effects of inflow turbulence intensity on blade loads and near and far wake structure
  • A study of wind farm aerodynamics looking at rotor-wake interaction, single and multiple wakes and the effects on loads and performance.
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated December 10, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Feb. 11, 2019
17 weeks
Part time
1,000 EUR
Feb. 4, 2019
Netherlands - Netherlands Online
Start date : Feb. 11, 2019
Application deadline Feb. 4, 2019
End date June 7, 2019
Feb. 11, 2019
Netherlands - Netherlands Online
Application deadline Feb. 4, 2019
End date June 7, 2019