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A fully automated framework for helicopter rotor blades design and analysis including aerodynamics, structure, and manufacturing

Authors: 

Ngoc Anh VU*, Jae Woo LEE, Tuan Phuong Nam LE, Song Thanh Thao NGUYEN

Source title: 
Chinese Journal of Aeronautics, 29(6): 1602-1617, 2016 (ISI)
Academic year of acceptance: 
2016-2017
Abstract: 

This study describes an integrated framework in which basic aerospace engineering aspects (performance, aerodynamics, and structure) and practical aspects (configuration visualization and manufacturing) are coupled and considered in one fully automated design optimization of rotor blades. A number of codes are developed to robustly perform estimation of helicopter configuration from sizing, performance analysis, trim analysis, to rotor blades configuration representation. These codes are then integrated with a two-dimensional airfoil analysis tool to fully design rotor blades configuration including rotor planform and airfoil shape for optimal aerodynamics in both hover and forward flights. A modular structure design methodology is developed for realistic composite rotor blades with a sophisticated cross-sectional geometry. A D-spar cross-sectional structure is chosen as a baseline. The framework is able to analyze all realistic inner configurations including thicknesses of D-spar, skin, web, number and ply angles of layers of each composite part, and materials. A number of codes and commercial software (ANSYS, Gridgen, VABS, PreVABS, etc.) are implemented to automate the structural analysis from aerodynamic data processing to sectional properties and stress analysis. An integrated model for manufacturing cost estimation of composite rotor blades developed at the Aerodynamic Analysis and Design Laboratory (AADL), Aerospace Information Engineering Department, Konkuk University is integrated into the framework to provide a rapid and dynamic feedback to configuration design. The integration of three modules has constructed a framework where the size of a helicopter, aerodynamic performance analysis, structure analysis, and manufacturing cost estimation could be quickly investigated. All aspects of a rotor blade including planform, airfoil shape, and inner structure are considered in a multidisciplinary design optimization without an exception of critical configuration.