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Title:
THRUST GENERATING APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2006/100523
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
There have been past proposals for air vehicles employing the Coanda effect. In these proposals, a jet of fluid, usually air, is made to flow radially outwardly over 5 a dome-shaped canopy to create lift. A cross-section through the canopy is curved to follow a segment of a circle or it may have a radius of curvature that increases in the direction of flow. In the invention, the radius (r) of the canopy curve decreases towards the downstream direction (x) in a way that is related to the decrease in the width of 10 the jet as it flows over the surface. This means that the radius of curvature decreases (instead of increasing) towards the downstream direction with the rate of decrease being progressively less rapid towards the downstream direction. 15

Inventors:
HATTON GEOFFREY (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2006/050064
Publication Date:
September 28, 2006
Filing Date:
March 23, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
GFS PROJECTS LTD (GB)
HATTON GEOFFREY (GB)
International Classes:
B64C39/06; B64C29/00
Foreign References:
US2978206A1961-04-04
GB2387158A2003-10-08
US2108652A1938-02-15
US6270036B12001-08-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tolfree, Roger (Toll Drove, Manea Cambridgeshire PE15 0JX, GB)
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Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A thrust generating arrangement comprising means for causing fluid to flow radially outwardly from a central position over a surface with double convex curvature, this surface serving to divert the radial flow towards an axial direction by operation of the Coanda effect; characterised in that the radius of curvature decreases less rapidly progressively towards a downstream direction.
2. A thrust generating arrangement according to Claim 1 characterised in that the second derivative of the radius of curvature with respect to distance from an axis diminishes towards a downstream direction.
3. A thrust generating arrangement according to Claim 1 characterised in that the radius of curvature is such as to maintain the jet in its bistable state thereby minimising the surface area over which the jet must flow and consequently minimising drag.
4. A thrust generating arrangement according to Claim 1 or 2 characterised in that a downstream periphery of the surface is substantially straight in the direction of flow.
5. A thrust generating arrangement according to any preceding Claim included as part of a vehicle, characterised in that the turning of the flow changes the momentum of the flow to generate a reactive force serving to suspend and/or propel the vehicle.
6. A thrust generating arrangement according to Claim 4 characterised in that the vehicle is a vertical takeoff air vehicle.
7. A thrust generating arrangement according to any preceding Claim characterised in that the means for causing the fluid to flow includes an axial fan.
8. A thrust generating arrangement according to any of Claims 1 to 5 characterised in that the means for causing the fluid to flow includes a radial fan.
9. A thrust generating arrangement according to any preceding claim characterised in that the surface is a dome shape.
10. A thrust generating arrangement according to any preceding Claim characterised in that a peripheral edge of the dome is polygonal.
Description:
THRUST GENERATING APPARATUS

This invention relates to apparatus which uses the Coanda Effect to divert a flow of fluid thereby producing a desired thrust.

The Coanda effect is a phenomenon which tends to keep a jet of fluid attached to a surface over which it flows. It is discussed in a paper by Gregory- Smith entitled "The Discharge from a thin slot over a surface of convex curvature (Int.J.Mech.Sci. VoI 24 No. 6 pp 329-339). This paper reports on an experimental study to determine the minimum radius r which the jet will follow without breaking away from it.

The results of the above experiments show that for any given P 0 /Pa ratio (where P 0 is the total pressure and Pa is the ambient pressure) there is a value of b/r (where b is the jet width) below which the jet will be attached to the curved surface.

Above this value there is a range of b/r values where the jet is bistable in the sense that, on start-up, the jet will separate from the curved surface but, if constrained to follow it by some external effect, will then remain attached.

Above another value, the jet will separate from the curved surface and the Coanda effect does not exist.

Existing literature includes many descriptions of flying machines in the shape of inverted "saucers." For example, Patent Specification GB2387158 describes a proposal where a fan directs air over a convex disc to produce lift. Patent Specification US5503351 and US3276723 describe arrangements where an air jet flows on opposite sides of a disc-shaped aerofoil to create lift. US5803199 describes a hovercraft that also uses airflow over an outside surface of the craft to achieve a supplementary lifting effect. US5054713 describes an arrangement in which an air jet flows over an "oblately spheroidal" body to derive lift. Each of these known

proposals either fails to discuss the precise curvature of the aerofoil surface or assumes that conventional practices associated with jet flow over a surface curved in a single plane will equally apply for surfaces that have double convex curvature.

The invention arose from consideration of the fact that optimum lift would be obtained by reducing to a minimum the amount of surface over which the jet must flow in order to be diverted by the required amount. It appeared to the inventor that, contrary to prior proposals, the optimum canopy shape might be expected to follow a curve similar to the relationship between the width b of the jet and the radial distance x.

Thus, according to the invention there is provided a thrust generating arrangement comprising means for causing fluid to flow radially outwardly from a central position over a surface with double convex curvature, this surface serving to divert the radial flow towards an axial direction by operation of the Coanda effect; characterised in that the radius of curvature decreases less rapidly progressively towards a downstream direction.

The curve of the surface, in the downstream direction of flow, is preferably designed to maintain the jet in its bistable state, when the arrangement is operating at full power, thereby minimising the surface area over which the jet must flow and consequently minimising drag.

The aforementioned surface is preferably dome-shaped. It will normally have a smooth continuous surface but in some variations, a peripheral edge of the dome may be segmented so that the curve at the centre of each segment is slightly different to the curve at joins between the segments. An advantage of a segmented arrangement is that it can conveniently be made using a ribbed frame with lightweight panels between the ribs. It also permits the downstream edge of each segment to be straight, this facilitating attachment of a control flap if required.

One way in which the invention may be performed will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings in which

Fig 1 is a perspective view of a vertical take-off aircraft constructed in accordance with the invention and incorporating a canopy over which a jet of air is constrained to flow by the Coanda effect;

Fig 2 A is a graph showing the curvature of a canopy of the aircraft of Figs 1 and 2;

Fig 2B is a graph showing the variation of jet height with respect to radial distance as measured from an upstream end of the jet (as calculated theoretically assuming frictionless flow);

Fig 2C is a graph showing a variation of radius of curvature with respect to the radial distance from the axis; and

Fig 2D is a graph showing a variation of the rate of change of curvature with respect to the radial distance.

Referring to Figs 1, the illustrated aircraft comprises a dome-shaped canopy 1 supporting an engine 2 which in this particular embodiment is an electric motor. The motor 2 drives an axial fan 3 which propels air radially from a circular outlet slot 4 of height bi. The resulting radially flowing jet of air flows over the canopy 1 and is kept in contact with it by the Coanda effect until it reaches a bottom edge 5 where it becomes detached, forming a near-vertical annular jet. The downward momentum of this jet results in an equal upward momentum transferred to the aircraft.

Fig 2A shows the precise curvature of the canopy, in the direction of flow of the jet, between the outlet slot 4, and a point 6, close to, but separated from, the peripheral edge 5. A cylindrical part 7 of the canopy surface between the edge 5 and point 6 is straight (in the direction of flow). This ensures that pressures are equalised on each

side of the canopy surface where the jet leaves the edge 5, avoiding undesired deviation of the direction of flow at that point.

Fig 2B shows how the width b of the jet diminishes with increasing distance x from an axis X - X (as calculated theoretically assuming frictionless flow). The reason for this is that the volume of flow remains constant for all points along the direction of flow, whilst the area of flow increases with increasing distance from the X - X axis. Note that the rate of change of b (or, to be more precise, the modulus of the rate of change) diminishes towards greater values of x.

Fig 2C shows variations of the radius of curvature r of the canopy along a line parallel to the direction of flow. In accordance with the invention, the shape of this curve follows the shape of curve 2B so that the rate of change of radius decreases with increasing values of x. The similarity between the graphs 3B and 3C is readily apparent. Fig 2D shows the rate of change of radius plotted against x from which it will be seen that even the second derivative also diminishes with increasing x values.

Tests on a model constructed along similar lines to that described have proved remarkably successful in terms of the thrust achieved and the stability and manoeuvrability during flight. It is believed that this is attributable partly to the unique shape of the canopy surface, allowing the maximum possible Coanda effect to be achieved at all points on the canopy. However, it will be appreciated that the illustrated design has been described only for the purposes of example and that many variations are possible. For example, the invention is not limited to use on aircraft. It would be equally applicable in submarines and vehicles designed to move through other fluids. It could also be used in devices such as fans or heaters which are designed to produce a thrust of air or gas without movement of the machine itself, and no doubt many other applications will be apparent within the scope of the accompanying Claims.