The Application of Finite Element Methods to Aeroelastic Lifting Surface Flutter
Akin, John Edward.
Master of Science
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.