Aerodynamic and Electromechanical Design, Modeling and Implementation Of Piezocomposite Airfoils
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Here, a detailed theoretical and experimental analysis of the aerodynamic and electromechanical systems that are necessary for a practical implementation of a piezocomposite airfoil is presented. First, the electromechanical response of Macro-Fiber Composite based unimorph and bimorph structures is analyzed. A distributed parameter electromechanical model is presented for interdigitated piezocomposite unimorph actuators. Necessary structural features that result in large electrically induced deformations are identified theoretically and verified experimentally. A novel, lightweight electrical circuitry is proposed and implemented to enable the peak-to-peak actuation of Macro-Fiber Composite bimorph devices with asymmetric voltage range.
Next, two novel concepts of supporting the piezoelectric material are proposed to form two types of variable-camber aerodynamic surfaces. The first concept, a simply-supported thin bimorph airfoil, can take advantage of aerodynamic loads to reduce control input moments and increase control effectiveness. The structural boundary conditions of the design are optimized by solving a coupled fluid-structure interaction problem by using a structural finite element method and a panel method based on the potential flow theory for fluids. The second concept is a variable-camber thick airfoil with two cascading bimorphs and a compliant box mechanism. Using the structural and aerodynamic theoretical analysis, both variable-camber airfoil concepts are fabricated and successfully implemented on an experimental ducted-fan vehicle. A custom, fully automated low-speed wind tunnel and a load balance is designed and fabricated for experimental validation. The airfoils are evaluated in the wind tunnel for their two-dimensional lift and drag coefficients at low Reynolds number flow. The effects of piezoelectric hysteresis are identified.
In addition to the shape control application, low Reynolds number flow control is examined using the cascading bimorph variable-camber airfoil. Unimorph type actuators are proposed for flow control in two unique concepts. Several electromechanical excitation modes are identified that result in the delay of laminar separation bubble and improvement of lift. Periodic excitation to the flow near the leading edge of the airfoil is used as the flow control method. The effects of amplitude, frequency and spanwise distribution of excitation are determined experimentally using the wind tunnel setup.
Finally, the effects of piezoelectric hysteresis nonlinearity are identified for Macro-Fiber Composite bimorphs. The hysteresis is modeled for open-loop response using a phenomenological classical Preisach model. The classical Preisach model is capable of predicting the hysteresis observed in 1) two cantilevered bimorph beams, 2) the simply-supported thin airfoil, and 3) the cascading bimorph thick airfoil.
- Doctoral Dissertations