Modeling friction phenomena and elastomeric dampers in multibody dynamics analysis
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The first part of this dissertation focuses on the development, implementation and validation of models that capture the behavior of joints in a realistic manner. These models are presented within the framework of finite element based, nonlinear multibody dynamics formulations that ensure unconditional nonlinear stability of the computation for systems of arbitrary topology. The proposed approach can be divided into three parts. First, the joint configuration: this purely kinematic part deals with the description of the configuration of the joint and the evaluation of the relative distance and relative tangential velocity between the contacting bodies. Second, the contact conditions: in most cases, contact at the joint is of an intermittent nature. And finally, the contact forces: this last part deals with the evaluation of the forces that arise at the interface between contacting bodies. The advantage of the proposed approach is that the three parts of the problem can be formulated and implemented independently. Many articulated rotor helicopters use hydraulic dampers, which provide high levels of damping but are also associated with high maintenance costs and difficulties in evaluating their conditions due to the presence of seals, lubricants and numerous moving parts, all operating in a rotating frame. To avoid problems associated with hydraulic dampers, the industry is now switching to elastomeric lead-lag dampers that feature simpler mechanical design, lower part count, and result in "dry" rotors. However, the design of robust elastomeric dampers is hampered by the lack of reliable analytical tools that can predict their damping behavior in the presence of large multi-frequency motions experienced by the rotor and thus the damper. The second part of this dissertation focuses on the development of an elastomeric damper model which predicts the behavior of the elastomeric damper based on a continuum mechanics approach: the configuration of the damper is modeled using a finite element approach, and material behavior is represented by a set of nonlinear constitutive laws and material parameters. The validated finite element model of the elastomeric damper is then coupled with a comprehensive, multibody dynamics analysis code to predict the behavior of complex systems featuring elastomeric components.