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Kite Magnetics unveils ultra-high efficiency propeller for electric aircraft
Thursday, 28 March 2024
The new propeller blade design will offer efficiencies of up to 92 per cent, five per cent better than industry-averages. Preliminary results show the potential for enhanced performance and reduced noise emissions.

Kite Magnetics and Swinburne University of Technology's Aerostructures Innovation Research (AIR) Hub, have passed a milestone in the development of a highly efficient, low-noise propeller designed specifically for electric aircraft using Kite's KM-120 electric engine.

The project is part of the AIR Hub's AIR Pass program, which is designed to support small and medium-sized enterprises in the aviation industry. The new propeller blade design will offer efficiencies of up to 92 per cent, representing up to a five per cent increase over industry-average propeller efficiencies. The preliminary results from computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of the initial propeller blade design showcase the potential for enhanced performance and reduced noise emissions in electric aircraft propulsion.

Over the past three months, the joint research team has been dedicated to creating a propeller that optimises efficiency while minimising noise, a critical factor in the successful integration of electric propulsion in aviation. The CFD simulation provides a detailed look at the proposed propeller blade's motion, revealing the formation of helical vortices in the propeller's wake. By analysing the velocity contours within the wake regions, the team has identified areas of potential noise generation and drag, paving the way for further refinements in the design.

"By combining this cutting-edge propeller design with our ultra-efficient KM-120 electric engine, electric aircraft will be able to stay in the air for longer, making electric flight more viable than ever before," says Dr. Richard Parsons, CEO of Kite Magnetics. "Our partnership with Swinburne has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of what's possible in electric aviation."

"By leveraging the expertise of Swinburne and our team's deep knowledge of aerodynamics and aerostructures, we are proud to be supporting Kite Magnetics on their deep tech challenges," adds Dr Adriano Di Pietro, Director of the AIR Hub at Swinburne.

The data collected from the CFD simulations, including velocity and vorticity, will be instrumental in optimising the propeller design for the KM120 motor. By fine-tuning the blade geometry and pitch, Kite Magnetics aims to maximise the propeller's performance, ultimately leading to extended flight times and reduced energy consumption for electric aircraft.

With the Australian Government's recently released Aviation Green Paper suggesting that approximately 50 per cent of propeller-powered flights under 500km will be electric by 2050, the development of efficient and quiet propellers is a critical step towards making electric flight a reality. Kite Magnetics and Swinburne are at the forefront of this transformation, combining cutting-edge research with practical engineering to create a propeller that will help shape the future of electric aviation.

The team will continue to fine-tune the propeller design based on the CFD results, with plans to conduct real-world testing and validation. The successful integration of this propeller with the Kite Magnetics KM-120 electric engine is expected to significantly enhance the performance and viability of electric aircraft, bringing the industry closer to a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable future.

Contact details from our directory:
Kite Magnetics Composite Propellers, Electric Engines, Electric Motors
Swinburne (University of Technology) AIR Hub Research/Consulting Services
Related directory sectors:
Electrical Power Systems