Resonant Passive Energy Balancing of Morphing Helicopter Blades with Bend-Twist Coupling

J Taghipour (Swansea University), J Zhang (Beihang University, China), AD Shaw, MI Friswell (Swansea University), H Gu (University of Bristol) & C Wang (Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China)

Nonlinear Dynamics, Vol. 107, No. 1, January 2022, pp. 617-639


With increasing demand for rotor blades in engineering applications, improving the performance of such structures using morphing blades has received considerable attention. Resonant passive energy balancing (RPEB) is a relatively new concept introduced to minimize the required actuation energy. This study investigates RPEB in morphing helicopter blades with lag–twist coupling. The structure of a rotating blade with a moving mass at the tip is considered under aerodynamic loading. To this end, a three-degree-of-freedom (3DOF) reduced-order model is used to analyse and understand the complicated nonlinear aeroelastic behaviour of the structure. This model includes the pitch angle and lagging of the blade, along with the motion of the moving mass. First, the 3DOF model is simplified to a single-degree-of-freedom model for the pitch angle dynamics of the blade to examine the effect of important parameters on the pitch response. The results demonstrate that the coefficient of lag–twist coupling and the direction of aerodynamic moment on the blade are two parameters that play important roles in controlling the pitch angle, particularly the phase. Then, neglecting the aerodynamic forces, the 3DOF system is studied to investigate the sensitivity of its dynamics to changes in the parameters of the system. The results of the structural analysis can be used to tune the parameters of the blade in order to use the resonant energy of the structure and to reduce the required actuation force. A sensitivity analysis is then performed on the dynamics of the 3DOF model in the presence of aerodynamic forces to investigate the controllability of the amplitude and phase of the pitch angle. The results show that the bend–twist coupling and the distance between the aerodynamic centre and the rotation centre (representing the direction and magnitude of aerodynamic moments) play significant roles in determining the pitch dynamics.

Paper Availability

This material has been published in Nonlinear Dynamics, Vol. 107, No. 1, January 2022, pp. 617-639, the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. The paper is published as open access.

Link to paper using doi: 10.1007/s11071-021-07067-x

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