Counter rotating propellers with heliciel software:

Design: propeller, turbine, screw, aerial, marine, turbine, tidal, wind, kaplan, foil, wings, 3D. Discover heliciel software:

counterrotating propeller /contra prop / contrarotatif

Understand and master the counter rotating propellers :

This article provides an example design of a pair of contra-rotating propellers with software HELICIEL

counterrotating propeller is used

stator upstream of a turbine

For completeness, the Heliciel software must enable the design of contra-rotating propellers, incorporating a parameter tangential flow upstream.

A multirotor interface (added since version 11.0.0) now allows you to directly model a pair of contra-rotating propellers, or drone multirotors and VTOL "Vertical Take-Off and Landing" ,and test the performance of the system in Heliciel. See the “Contra-rotating propellers” video tutorial:



The counterrotating propeller consists of two counter-rotating propellers:


The first propeller is optimized as a normal propeller.We therefore use héliciel to calculate and create a normal propeller.

For example we will use (let's open a model of air proppeller and set parameters):


The second propeller, which is located downstream, will receive a diverted fluid stream (tangential component) and accelerated (axial component) by the upstream propeller. The second propeller must therefore be twisted, and pitch optimized with fluid parameters speed, different from the first. It will of course also have a reverse rotation. To create our downstream propeller, we will use the results of our upstream propeller to determine the fluid velocity at the inlet and the tangential component parametrer:
In the results area, from our upstream propeller, at the element at around 0.75 times the radius of the blade (element 4) (most effective area of the propeller), we note the downstream axial velocity: 60.2 m/sec (this will be the fluid velocity of our second propeller) and the tangential speed downstream: 7.7rad / sec (this will be the value of the tangential flow introduction of our second propeller)

tangential speed downstream of the propeller

After you have saved our upstream propeller, we transform it, to downstream propeller by changing the fluid velocity from 56 m/sec to 60.2 m/sec, because it is this axial speed that receive our downstream propeller.

contra-rotating downstream propeller

The propeller also diverted upstream flow, in rotation,we will use the parameters menu / introduce tangential flow, to enter our value of 7.7 rad / sec previously noted. Note that the value of the tangential flow introduced must be negative, in our case, because it is contrary to the direction of rotation:

introduction tangential speed contra rotating propeller

We have to rebuild with this new data, to calculate the twist and the performance of our downstream propeller:

counter-rotating propellerdownstream

We reverse the direction of rotation in the 3D tab to rebuild an inverted geometry before export to a cad to igs formats


the thrust forces, of the upstream and downstream propeller, will be cumulative, as well as their torque to the shaft and power, if you want to know the power, torque and total thrust from our counterrotating propeller. The efficiency can sometimes exceed 1 at the downstream propeller, because it is calculated without taking into account the contribution of the tangential flow of energy that is brought, and thus gives a surplus of abnormal power. But the average efficiencies of the two propellers will give us an overall efficiency therefore more realistic and less than 1.

The design function of contra-rotating propellers has been made even easier with the multirotor interface integrated into the Heliciel software since version 11.0.0: