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Technical Paper

Unsteady Fuselage Loads on Rotorcraft in Ground Effect

In ground effect, helicopters experience severe loads that change rapidly with flight condition and ground clearance. Even under nominally steady conditions, wake vortex interactions and vortex recirculation into the rotors cause transient loads separated by apparently random intervals. In prior work, these loads have been isolated and classified into transient versus quasi-steady using flow imaging, hot-wire anemometry and integrated load measurements. This paper looks at wind tunnel experiments studying the fuselage loads on two typical helicopter fuselage shapes decoupled from rotor disk moments. The likely effect of this load variation is outlined in the paper, in an attempt to begin relating these back to the forces reported by pilots.
Technical Paper

Aircraft Control Using Stagnation Point Displacement

A Stagnation Point Actuator is used to control the lateral dynamics of vortices generated over a sharp-pointed forebody, at high angles of attack, and the resulting rolling moment is studied. Effective roll control is demonstrated, including the ability to suppress the wing rock phenomenon. Piecewise-linear transfer functions are developed from experimental data for the changes in roll moment and pressure difference with actuator frequency content. These transfer functions are reduced to compact form in the frequency domain, and then to a time-domain model using 2 gains and 2 time scales. The roll response is classified according to angle of attack range. Some long time scales are observed in the surface pressure, velocity field and rolling moment, making the response relatively insensitive to speed. Thus over substantial speed ranges, linear transfer functions are shown to effectively describe the roll response to motion of the Stagnation Point Actuator.
Technical Paper

Coaxial Rotor Flow Phenomena in Forward Flight

Coaxial rotors are finding use in advanced rotorcraft concepts. Combined with lift offset rotor technology, they offer a solution to the problems of dynamic stall and reverse flow that often limit single rotor forward flight speeds. In addition, coaxial rotorcraft systems do not need a tail rotor, a major boon during operation in confined areas. However, the operation of two counter-rotating rotors in close proximity generates many possible aerodynamic interactions between rotor blades, blades and vortices, and between vortices. With two rotors, the parameter design space is very large, and requires efficient computations as well as basic experiments to explore aerodynamics of a coaxial rotor and the effects on performance, loads, and acoustics.
Technical Paper

Yaw Effects on the Narrowband Spectra Above a Delta Wing in Turbulent Flow

Combat aircraft maneuvering at high angles of attack or in landing approach are likely to encounter conditions where the flow over the swept wings is yawed. This paper examines the effect of yaw on the spectra of turbulence above and aft of the wing, in the region where fins and control surfaces are located. Prior work has shown the occurrence of narrowband velocity fluctuations in this region for most combat aircraft models, including those with twin fins. Fin vibration and damage has been traced to excitation by such narrowband fluctuations. The narrowband fluctuations themselves have been traced to the wing surface. The issue in this paper is the effect of yaw on these fluctuations, as well as on the aerodynamic loads on a wing, without including the perturbations due to the airframe.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Load Maps of Vehicle Shapes at Arbitrary Attitude

The interest in flying cars comes with the question of characterizing aerodynamic loads on shapes that go beyond traditional aircraft shapes. When carried as slung loads under aircraft, vehicles can encounter severe aerodynamic loads, which may also cause them to go into divergent oscillations that can threaten the vehicle and aircraft. Slung loads can encounter the wind at arbitrary attitudes. Flight test certification for every vehicle-aircraft combination is prohibitive. Characterizing the aerodynamic loads with sufficient resolution for use in dynamic simulation, has in the past been extremely arduous. Sharp changes that drive instabilities arise over small ranges of yaw and pitch. With the Continuous Rotation technique developed by our group, aerodynamic load characterization is viable and efficient. With two well-chosen attitude sweeps and appropriate transformations, the entire 6-DOF load map can be obtained, for several rates.
Technical Paper

Slung Load Divergence Speed Predictions for Vehicle Shapes

Loads slung under aircraft can go into divergent oscillations coupling multiple degrees of freedom. Predicting the highest safe flight speed for a vehicle-load combination is a critical challenge, both for military missions over hostile areas, and for evacuation/rescue operations. The primary difficulty was that of obtaining well-resolved airload maps covering the arbitrary attitudes that a slung load may take. High speed rotorcraft using tilting rotors and co-axial rotors can fly at speeds that imply high dynamic pressure, making aerodynamic loads significant even on very dense loads such as armored vehicles, artillery weapons, and ammunition. The Continuous Rotation method demonstrated in our prior work enables routine prediction of divergence speeds. We build on prior work to explore the prediction of divergence speed for practical configurations such as military vehicles, which often have complex bluff body shapes.
Technical Paper

Narrow-Band Excitation of Vortex Flows

At high angles of attack, the flow over a swept wing generates counter-rotating vortical features. These features can amplify into a nearly sinusoidal fluctuation of velocity components. The result is excitation of twin-fin buffeting, driven at clearly predictable frequencies, or at nearby lock-in frequencies of the fin structure. This is distinct from the traditional model of fin buffeting as a structural resonant response to broadband, large-amplitude excitation from vortex core bursting. Hot-film anemometry was conducted ahead of the vertical fins of a 1:48 scale model of the F-35B aircraft, in the angle of attack range between 18 and 30 degrees. Auto spectral density functions from these data showed a sharp spectral peak in the flow ahead of the fins for angles of attack between 20 and 28 degrees. Small fences placed on the top surface of the wing eliminated the spectral peak, leaving only a broadband turbulent spectrum.
Technical Paper

Tradeoff Study of High Altitude Solar Reflector Concepts

A direct solution to Global Warming would be to reflect a part of sunlight back into Space. A system tradeoff study is being developed with three of the concepts that are being evaluated as long-endurance high-altitude reflectors. The first concept is a high aspect ratio solar powered flying wing towing reflector sheets. This concept is named “Flying Carpet”. Second is a centrifugally stretched high altitude solar reflector (CSHASR). The CSHASR has 4 rotors made of reflector sheets with a hub stretching to 60 percent of the radius, held together by an ultralight quad-rotor structure. Each rotor is powered by a solar-electric motor. A variation on this concept, forced by nighttime descent rate concerns, is powered by tip-mounted solar panels and propellers with some battery storage augmenting rotational inertia as well as energy storage. The third concept is an Aerostatically Balanced Reflector (ABR) sheet, held up by hydrogen balloons.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Loads on Arbitrary Configurations: Measurements, Computations and Geometric Modeling

This paper brings together three special aspects of bluff-body aeromechanics. Experiments using our Continuous Rotation method have developed a knowledge base on the 6-degree-of-freedom aerodynamic loads on over 50 different configurations including parametric variations of canonical shapes, and several practical shapes of interest. Models are mounted on a rod attached to a stepper motor placed on a 6-DOF load cell in a low speed wind tunnel. The aerodynamic loads are ensemble-averaged as phase-resolved azimuthal variations. The load component variations are obtained as discrete Fourier series for each load component versus azimuth about each of 3 primary axes. This capability has enabled aeromechanical simulation of the dynamics of roadable vehicles slung below rotorcraft. In this paper, we explore the genesis of the loads on a CONEX model, as well as models of a short and long container, using the “ROTCFD” family of unstructured Navier-Stokes solvers.
Journal Article

Performance of Isolated UAV Rotors at Low Reynolds Number

Vertical takeoff and landing vehicle platforms with many small rotors are gaining importance for small UAVs as well as distributed electric propulsion for larger vehicles. To predict vehicle performance, it must be possible to gauge interaction effects. These rotors operate in the less-known regime of low Reynolds number, with different blade geometry. As a first step, two identical commercial UAV rotors from a flight test program are studied in isolation, experimentally and computationally. Load measurements were performed in Georgia Tech’s 2.13 m × 2.74 m wind tunnel. Simulations were done using the RotCFD solver which uses a Navier-Stokes wake computation along with rotor-disc loads calculation using low-Reynolds number blade section data. It is found that in hover, small rotors available in the market vary noticeably in performance at low rotor speeds, the data converging at higher RPM and Reynolds number.