Linear Aeroelastic Stability of Beams and Plates in Three-Dimensional Flow

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Dowell, Earl H

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The aeroelastic stability of beams and plates in three-dimensional flows is explored as the elastic and aerodynamic parameters are varied. First principal energy methods are used to derive the structural equations of motion. The structural models are coupled with a three-dimensional linear vortex lattice model of the aerodynamics. An aeroelastic model with the beam structural model is used to explore the transition between different fixed boundary conditions and the effect of varying two non-dimensional parameters, the mass ratio $\mu$ and aspect ratio $H^*$, for a beam with a fixed edge normal to the flow. The trends matched previously published theoretical and experimental data, validating the current aeroelastic model. The transition in flutter velocity between the clamped free and pinned free configuration is a non-monotomic transition, with the lowest flutter velocity coming with a finite size spring stiffness. Next a plate-membrane model is used to explore the instability dynamics for different combinations of boundary conditions. For the specific configuration of the trailing edge free and all other edges clamped, the sensitivity to the physical parameters shows that decreasing the streamwise length and increasing the tension in the direction normal to the flow can increase the onset instability velocity. Finally the transition in aeroelastic instabilities for non-axially aligned flows is explored for the cantilevered beam and three sides clamped plate. The cantilevered beam configuration transitions from an entirely bending motion when the clamped edge is normal to the flow to a typical bending/torsional wing flutter when the clamped edge is aligned with the flow. As the flow is rotated the transition to the wing flutter occurs when the flow angle is only 10 deg from the perfectly normal configuration. With three edges clamped, the motion goes from a divergence instability when the free edge is aligned with the flow to a flutter instability when the free edge is normal to the flow. The transition occurs at an intermediate angle. Experiments are carried out to validate the beam and plate elastic models. The beam aeroelastic results are also confirmed experimentally. Experimental values consistently match well with the theoretical predictions for both the aeroelastic and structural models.





Gibbs IV, Samuel Chad (2012). Linear Aeroelastic Stability of Beams and Plates in Three-Dimensional Flow. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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