A research team at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has been working to develop a toroidal propeller for a multicopter drone. They found that the propeller’s twisted toroidal shape effectively disperses the vortices generated by the propeller throughout its shape, not just at the tip. This allows atmospheric vortices to dissipate faster, greatly reducing noise pollution.
The toroidal propellers also showed significant efficiency gains, with the team’s top performing B160 design not only running quieter, but producing significantly more thrust at a set energy input level. This is important given the early stages of development of these toroidal propellers.
In the marine sector, these propellers can be used on boats, ships and submarines. The propeller’s twisted toroidal shape allows for smoother water flow, less resistance, and more efficient propulsion. This means that boats and ships using toroidal propellers consume less fuel and emit less emissions, making them more environmentally friendly.
Overall, toroidal propellers are a promising technology that could have a significant impact on the aviation and marine sectors. The potential for noise reduction, efficiency gains, and environmental benefits make it a worthwhile technology to watch in the future.
Image credit: MIT, Sharrow Marine