The designs could be applicable in any system that uses rotor blades, such as drones. (Image: NASA)

Rotor noise and vibration are two sources of operational challenges for all aircraft operating with open rotors such as helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), urban air mobility personal air vehicles, drones, and aircraft operating with ducted fans, such as passenger aircraft. One key disadvantage of convention rotor design is the noise due to noise-induced shed vortices generated by rotor blades. NASA Ames Research Center has developed a novel patent-pending design and method for reducing rotor blade vibration and acoustic signatures in rotor systems using anti-phase blade vortex suppression design concepts. The design objective is to maximize reduction of noise perceived by the community while maintaining the aerodynamic thrust. These designs could be applicable in any system that uses rotor blades.

The unique problem with rotor noise and vibration is the periodic blade passage that results in a harmonic reinforcement and causes the rotor blades to vibrate and generate noise.

This NASA technology seeks to optimize the implementation of anti-phase trailing edge designs and asymmetric blade tip treatments for rotor noise suppression and integrated aircraft noise solutions by incorporating the anti-phase rotor design concepts into an aircraft flight control system to reduce the noise footprint.

There are several embodiments of the invention, which include the following: (1) an anti-phase trailing edge design whereby the trailing edge pattern of the leading rotor blade is offset by a phase shift from the trailing edge pattern of the following blade; (2) an anti-phase rotor design implementing asymmetric blade tips with inverted airfoil; and (3) other anti-phase enabled concepts such as unequal blade length, ducted rotors with non-radial unequally spaced struts, and multi-axis tilt rotor design incorporating the anti-phase rotor design.

The technology has applications in rotorcraft like helicopters, drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), urban air mobility vehicles (UAMVs), military/commercial/passenger aircraft gas turbine engines and wind turbines, as well as industrial systems that use rotor blades.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact NASA’s Licensing Concierge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 202-358-7432 to initiate licensing discussions. For more information, visit here .