The Application of Finite Element Methods to Aeroelastic Lifting Surface Flutter
Akin, John Edward.
Master of Science thesis
Aeroelastic behavior prediction is often confined to analytical or highly computational methods, so I developed a low degree of freedom computational method using structural finite elements and unsteady loading to cover a gap in the literature. Finite elements are readily suitable for determination of the free vibration characteristics of eccentric, elastic structures, and the free vibration characteristics fundamentally determine the aeroelastic behavior. I used Theodorsen’s unsteady strip loading formulation to model the aerodynamic loading on linear elastic structures assuming harmonic motion. I applied Hassig’s ‘p-k’ method to predict the flutter boundary of nonsymmetric, aeroelastic systems. I investigated the application of a quintic interpolation assumed displacement shape to accurately predict higher order characteristic effects compared to linear analytical results. I show that quintic interpolation is especially accurate over cubic interpolation when multi-modal interactions are considered in low degree of freedom flutter behavior for high aspect ratio HALE aircraft wings.