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Tools, for propeller design (automates usage of XFOIL and XROTOR executables).

Project description

propeller_design_tools (PDT)


Work in progress / incomplete documentation


Description

Python 3.7 package that provides exactly what it sounds like by automating usage of the GPL-licensed CLI-utilities XFOIL and XROTOR.

Both utilities are published by professor Mark Drela (MIT).

  • XFOIL: for arbitrary 2D airfoil analysis
  • XROTOR: for arbitrary propeller design schemes

Purpose

PDT seeks to provide the user a set of python3 utilities that can be used for arbitrary scripting efforts to automate usage of both XFOIL and XROTOR while implementing its own unique python3.7-native algorithms to maintain local input files, meta files, databases, and results files and weave everything together for the user in a simple, meaningful way to aid in the initial / investigatory stage of well-behaved propeller designs.

Getting Started

Installation

pip install propeller_design_tools

General Operation

import propeller_design_tools as pdt

PDT operates on two different "database" directories, defined by the user with:

pdt.set_airfoil_database(path: str)
pdt.set_propeller_database(path: str)

The user must set these two directories at the top of every script right after the imports

The airfoil directory will be used to store any foil / XFOIL- related support files, and the propeller directory will be used similarly to store any propeller / XROTOR - related support files.

Pre-Requisite: XFOIL and XROTOR Executables

In order to utilize any PDT functionality that depends on running XFOIL, the "xfoil.exe" executable file needs to be in the user-set "airfoil_database" location.

XFOIL executable and docs

Likewise, in order to utilize any PDT functionality that depends on running XROTOR, the "xrotor.exe" executable file needs to be in the user-set "propeller_database" location.

XROTOR executable and docs (this is actually a link to "CROTOR", which I find is actually the easiest way to obtain a windows-executable of XROTOR)

Example Scripts / Workflow

At a high-level, the current concept for PDT workflow is as follows (after obtaining the required executables and pip-installing the PDT package):

  1. Obtain normalized airfoil coordinate files from UIUC Database -> save these files into the "airfoil_database" directory

  2. Use PDT to run XFOIL across ranges of Reynolds Numbers in order to populate database data for the desired foil sections -> see example1_airfoil_analysis.py

    ex1-1.png ex1-2.png

  3. Once the required 2D airfoil data is generated, PDT can then be used to automatically generate all the required 2D foil definition parameters required by XROTOR (these "station parameters" are essentially what allow XROTOR to model the performance of well-behaved, arbitrarily-lofted blade geometries) -> see example2_radialstation_creation.py

    ex2-1.png

    But this step is also automated & displayed by PDT when the user uses the builtin PDT propeller creation function -> see example3_prop_creation.py

    ex3-1.png ex3-2.png

  4. PDT's Propeller() object instances can generate 3D geometry files including profle xyz coordinate listings, and .stl 3D geometry files -> see example4_stl_generation.py

    ex4-1.png

  5. WIP Prop analysis (integrating XROTOR's sweeps commands and displaying outputs)

  6. WIP Prop optimization (grid-search style generic optimizer for "optimal" prop design generation by means of maximizing or minimizing a given output / calculated metric based on outputs, optionally taking into account different propeller operating points via the ability to define the propeller's "duty-cycle")

Project details


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