Nonlinear Analysis and Control of Aeroelastic Systems

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Virginia Tech

Presence of nonlinearities may lead to limit cycle oscillations (LCOs) in aeroelastic systems. LCOs can result in fatigue in wings leading to catastrophic failures. Existence of LCOs for velocities less than the linear flutter velocity has been observed during flight and wind tunnel tests, making such subcritical behavior highly undesirable. The objective of this dissertation is to investigate the existence of subcritical LCOs in aeroelastic systems and develop state feedback controllers to suppress them. The research results are demonstrated on a two degree of freedom airfoil section model with stiffness nonlinearity.

Three different approaches are developed and discussed. The first approach uses a feedback linearization controller employing the aeroelastic modal coordinates. The use of modal coordinates results in a system which is linearly decoupled making it possible to avoid cancellation of any linear terms when compared to existing feedback linearization controllers which use the physical coordinates. The state and control costs of the developed controller are compared to the costs of the traditional feedback linearization controllers. Second approach involves the use of nonlinear normal modes (NNMs) as a tool to predict LCO amplitudes of the aeroelastic system. NNM dynamics along with harmonic balance method are used to generate analytical estimates of LCO amplitude and its sensitivities with respect to the introduced control parameters. A multiobjective optimization problem is solved to generate optimal control parameters which minimize the LCO amplitude and the control cost. The third approach uses a nonlinear state feedback control input obtained as the solution of a multiobjective optimization problem which minimizes the difference between the LCO commencement velocity and the linear flutter velocity. The estimates of LCO commencement velocity and its sensitivities are obtained using numerical continuation methods and harmonic balance methods. It is shown that the developed optimal controller eliminates any existing subcritical LCOs by converting them to supercritical LCOs.

Aeroelasticity, Control, Limit cycle oscillations, Optimization, Subcritical, Supercritical