The Swinburne University of Technology’s Aerostructures Innovation Research Hub’s (AIR Hub) AIR Pass program supports small to medium-sized aviation businesses. As part of this program, researchers at AIR Hub partnered with Kite Magnetics, using Kite’s KM-120 electric engine, to develop a new propeller design for electric aircraft that works with aluminum or composite material blades. 

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of the propeller blade design presents the potential for high efficiency and reduced noise emissions. In fact, the new propeller offers efficiencies of up to 92%, five per cent better than the industry average. 

Researchers collected both velocity and vorticity data in the CFD simulations. Continued analysis of this valuable data will allow for additional adjustments in geometry and pitch to maximize performance, minimize noise and drag, extend flight times, and reduce the aircraft’s energy consumption. 

Dr. Richard Parsons, CEO of Kite Magnetics, remarked, “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. Our partnership with Swinburne has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in electric aviation.” 

Dr Adriano Di Pietro, Director of the AIR Hub at Swinburne, added, “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.”