Abstract To study the effect of crosswind on the aerodynamic characteristics of propeller, the aerodynamic characteristics of a propeller were numerically simulated under different crosswind inclinations by solving the N-S equations and S-A turbulence model for unsteady incompressible flows based on sliding mesh technique with CFD software. The numerical results indicate that the instantaneous aerodynamic forces, including thrust, lateral force and torque present a periodic variation in each revolution under crosswind conditions, and this variation becomes more significant with increasing inclination. The time-averaged aerodynamic forces are obtained by averaging these instantaneous aerodynamic forces in each revolution. The time-averaged thrust, lateral force, torque and efficiency increase with enlaring inclination. The efficiency rises to 64.3% at 30? inclination from 53.4% at 0? inclination, because the increase in the thrust is larger than that in the torque. Analysing the pressure distributions on the propeller blade surfaces shows that both the windward and the leeward of the propeller are responsible for the unsteady force. Specially, the higher pressure on the windward and the bigger suction pressure on the leeward lead to the larger force on the propeller. While the smaller pressure on the windward and the smaller suction pressure on the leeward contribute to the smaller force on the propeller.
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