Aeroelastic modeling and flutter control in aircraft with low aspect ratio composite wings

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Virginia Tech

A comprehensive study including modeling and control of aeroelastic instabilities in free flying aircraft with flexible wings has been completed. The structural model of the wing consists of a trapezoidal composite plate rigidly attached to a fuselage with rigid-body degrees of freedom. Both quasi-steady and quasi-static aerodynamic strip theories were used to analyze several different flutter mechanisms for a variety of low aspect ratio wing configurations. The most critical flutter mechanism was found to be body-freedom flutter, a coupling of aircraft pitching and wing bending motions, for wings in a forward-sweep configuration. In addition, a modal approximation to the flutter eigenvalue problem was used to substantially reduce computation cost, making the resulting model very attractive for use in larger multiobjective design packages.

Composite ply angle tailoring was investigated as a passive method of increasing the body-freedom flutter airspeed of an aircraft model. In addition, wing mounted piezoelectric sensor and induced-strain actuator patches were used in conjunction with active feedback control laws to increase the airspeed at which body-freedom flutter occurs. Two control laws were tested, coupled and independent modal position feedback, to delay frequency coalescence and thus increase the flutter airspeed.