Software integration for automated stability analysis and design optimization of a bearingless rotor blade
Gündüz, Mustafa Emre
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The concept of applying several disciplines to the design and optimization processes may not be new, but it does not currently seem to be widely accepted in industry. The reason for this might be the lack of well-known tools for realizing a complete multidisciplinary design and analysis of a product. This study aims to propose a method that enables engineers in some design disciplines to perform a fairly detailed analysis and optimization of a design using commercially available software as well as codes developed at Georgia Tech. The ultimate goal is when the system is set up properly, the CAD model of the design, including all subsystems, will be automatically updated as soon as a new part or assembly is added to the design; or it will be updated when an analysis and/or an optimization is performed and the geometry needs to be modified. Such a design process takes dramatically less time to complete; therefore, it should reduce development time and costs. The optimization method is demonstrated on an existing helicopter rotor originally designed in the 1960's. The rotor is already an effective design with novel features. However, application of the optimization principles together with high-speed computing resulted in an even better design. The objective function to be minimized is related to the vibrations of the rotor system under gusty wind conditions. The design parameters are all continuous variables. Optimization is performed in a number of steps. First, the most crucial design variables of the objective function are identified. With these variables, Latin Hypercube Sampling method is used to probe the design space of several local minima and maxima. After analysis of numerous samples, an optimum configuration of the design that is more stable than that of the initial design is reached. The process requires several software tools: CATIA as the CAD tool, ANSYS as the FEA tool, VABS for obtaining the cross-sectional structural properties, and DYMORE for the frequency and dynamic analysis of the rotor. MATLAB codes are also employed to generate input files and read output files of DYMORE. All these tools are connected using ModelCenter.