Using tightly-coupled CFD/CSD simulation for rotorcraft stability analysis
Zaki, Afifa Adel
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Dynamic stall deeply affects the response of helicopter rotor blades, making its modeling accuracy very important. Two commonly used dynamic stall models were implemented in a comprehensive code, validated, and contrasted to provide improved analysis accuracy and versatility. Next, computational fluid dynamics and computational structural dynamics loose coupling methodologies are reviewed, and a general tight coupling approach was implemented and tested. The tightly coupled computational fluid dynamics and computational structural dynamics methodology is then used to assess the stability characteristics of complex rotorcraft problems. An aeroelastic analysis of rotors must include an assessment of potential instabilities and the determination of damping ratios for all modes of interest. If the governing equations of motion of a system can be formulated as linear, ordinary differential equations with constant coefficients, classical stability evaluation methodologies based on the characteristic exponents of the system can rapidly and accurately provide the system's stability characteristics. For systems described by linear, ordinary differential equations with periodic coefficients, Floquet's theory is the preferred approach. While these methods provide excellent results for simplified linear models with a moderate number of degrees of freedom, they become quickly unwieldy as the number of degrees of freedom increases. Therefore, to accurately analyze rotorcraft aeroelastic periodic systems, a fully nonlinear, coupled simulation tool is used to determine the response of the system to perturbations about an equilibrium configuration and determine the presence of instabilities and damping ratios. The stability analysis is undertaken using an algorithm based on a Partial Floquet approach that has been successfully applied with computational structural dynamics tools on rotors and wind turbines. The stability analysis approach is computationally inexpensive and consists of post processing aeroelastic data, which can be used with any aeroelastic rotorcraft code or with experimental data.