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Rotorcraft Wind Tunnel Testing

Topics

Wind-tunnel testing in aviation


Natural scale testing
Goals of the wind-tunnel testing
Aerodynamic similarity criteria
Models and measurement devices
Tests of the typical model rotorcraft

Summary

Wind-tunnel testing in aviation

Subject of the research


aerial vehicles
vehicles elements or subsystems
Scale
natural 1:1
reduced models
Aims of the research
test of operation of the existing objects or new concepts
design optimization
data acquisition for model validation
validation of theories or computation methods

Terminology:
Model reduced scale in the laboratory
Rotor natural scale in natural environment (not always NASA
Ames)

Natural scale rotorcraft testing


Usually to study existing design or to validate a modified vehicle or a
new concept
on the rotorcraft on the ground

Natural scale rotorcraft testing


on the whirl towers

in the wind-tunnels

Natural scale rotorcraft testing


The biggest wind tunnel in the world
NASA Ames Research Center
80 x 40 foot and 120 x 80 foot test sections

Aims of the wind-tunnel testing


geting insight into physics of the phenomena
BVI (Blade Vortex Interaction)

ice accretion on aircraft models


interference between rotor and
objects on the ground

Aims of the wind-tunnel testing


performance improvement of existing
vehicles

data acquisition for development and validation of the mathematical model


could be done in the natural scale, but using models is cheaper

Aims of the wind-tunnel testing


oscillating airfoils

velocity distribution

Advantages of the models testing


lower cost
possible tests of hazardous states of flight
new designs testing (no need for permission from aviation authorities)

Technical difficulties
rotor design is complex and so is a model
necessity for blade pitch control
restrictions on the mechanical properties of the model resulting
from the similarity criteria
requirements for model durability and reliability

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


criterion of similarity relationship between parameters describing physical features of
the model and the rotor
AND
between results of the measurements on the model and on the rotor
modeling parameters physical quantities taken into account in the development of
the similarity numbers

resizing an object causes changes of the relationship between acting loads


measurement results obtained in studies of model usually does not transform directly
(with no conversion) to the natural conditions on the rotor
Criterions could be derived with
methods of dimensional analysis
analyzing loads developed in the tested phenomenon
from dimensionless equations of vehicle motion

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


In the case of rotorcraft it is necessary to simultaneously preserve the conditions of
similarity:
geometric (shape)
kinematic (couplings between various displacements)
aerodynamic
dynamic loads

mass: inertial and gravitational

elastic

damping

in every research there are always restrictions independent


from the researcher
model scale (l < 1)
constant gravity g
working medium in the wind tunnel (usually air)
temperature of the working medium - density r and viscosity n

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


Geometric similarity
shape
blades (shape, twist, airfoil distribution)
rotorhub difficult because of different design solutions used in the model

Kinematic similarity
displacements
in rotorhub
in control of the blades pitch angles
similarity parameters:
linear distance (position or displacement) l
rotation (angular displacement) a
linear velocity V
angular velocity W
linear acceleration a
angular acceleration e

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


Aerodynamic similarity
preserving geometric and kinematic similarity
AND
working medium in the tunnel
inflow velocity
similarity parameters medium type and conditions in the tunnel
(not all the parameters are independent)
density r,
viscosity n,
pressure p,
temperature T,
speed of sound a.

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


Dynamic similarity
mass properties of blades and rotorhub
similarity parameters
velocities and accelerations (kinematic similarity)
gravitational acceleration g
quantities and distributions along blade:
mass m, m(x)
static moments (cg possition) S, s(x)
moments of inertia I, i(x)

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


elastic properties
blades, rotorhub deformable elements and control system strains
similarity parameters
rotorhub elastic elements stiffness,
control system stiffness K,
and distributions along the blade
bending stiffness EI(x) (two directions)
tortional stiffness GJ(x)
structural damping
damping in rotorhub hinges (?)
possible (?) only by miniaturization
structural damping estimated on the bases of resonance tests and included in
the results interpretation

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


Helicopter steady forward flight
similarity numbers:
flight speed coefficient m=VL/WR,
frequencies rate

w/W

Lock number

g=(rca0R4/I)

rotor solidity= blades area / rotor area


Froude number

Fr = V2/Rg

Reynolds number

Re = VR/n

Mach number

M = V/a

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


Helicopter steady forward flight
similarity parameters:
characteristic linear dimension rotor radius R,
angular speed rotor agular speed (nominal) W,
linear acceleration gravitational acceleration g,
medium density r
angular displacement rotation in the rotorhub hinge a,
linear velocity flight velocity V,
blades attachment stiffness K,
model motion relative to medium natural frequency w,
viscosity - n
speed of sound - a
distributions along the blade:
mass m(x) or blade density rL(x)
position of local cg s(x)
moments of inertia i(x)
bending stiffness EI(x)
tortional stiffness GJ(x)

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


Scale coefficient
model = rotor*scale l
constans: r, g, q, a
Numbers
Froude number
Mach number
Reynoldsa number
Time

Ma
l

l
l

Fr

l
l
l

Re
l
l

l
l

l
l

l
l

l
l
l

l
l

Kinematic parameters
Linear displacement
Linear velocity
Linear acceleration
Angular displacement
Angular rate, frequencies
Angular acceleration

Aeromechanic criterions of similarity


Mechanical quantities
Forces: lift, mass, inertia
Moments of forces: aerodynamic, mass, elastic
Gravity
Gravity moment
Power
Rotor load

l
l
l
l
l

l
l
l
l
l
l

l
l
l
l
l

l
l
l
l
l
l
l
l

l
l

l
l
l
l
l
l
l
l
l

l
l
l
l
l
l
l
l
l
l
l

Mechanical quantities (rotor)


mass, weight
spanwise mass distribution
chordwise cg position
static moment
moment of inertia
moment of inertia spanwise distribution
stiffness EJ, GJ
stiffness spanwise distribution EJ, GJ
dynamic stress
static strain (gravity)
viscotic damping coefficient

Models and measurement devices


Aeromechanical models
qualitative studies
difficulties in preserving the moments of fuselage inertia

Models and measurement devices


Test stands

model drive electric or hydraulic


measured signals transfer mechanical or optical colectors, wireless
possibility for changing the inflow angle stand pitch and bank angle
blade pitch control swashplate devices
loads measureing equipment tensometer balance, torque measurement,

Models and measurement devices

Test stands for wind tunnel measurements

Models and measurement devices

Rotorhubs

Models and measurement devices

Blades

Typical wind tunnel test of a rotorcraft


1. Determination of the research, scope and research program
a) test parameters quantities varied during the test in a controlled manner
b) test results quantities which are the goal of the tests
2. Preparation of the test object
a) determination of the similarity criterions (Ma, Re, Fr)
b) conversion of the mechanical properties of the test object to the properties of the
model
c) verification of the model properties
3. Preparation of the measurement and signal processing systems calibration of the
sensors
4. Tests according to the approved program
5. Results analysis and report preparation conversion of the results to the full scale
object

Typical wind tunnel test of a rotorcraft


Mechanical properties verification
Blades: shape, airfoils, twist
Mass properties: mass, static moment, moments of inertia
Spanwise distributions: mass, cg chordwise position, static moments, moments of
inertia (blades divided into elements)

Typical wind tunnel test of a rotorcraft


Mechanical properties verification
Elastic properties: tortional stiffness, bending stiffness in the plane of smaller
stiffness

Typical wind tunnel test of a rotorcraft


Mechanical properties verification
Elastic properties: bending stiffness in the plane of greater
Rotorhub and control system elastic properties:

Typical wind tunnel test of a rotorcraft


Mechanical properties verification
Blades natural frequancies
Calibration of sensors

Correlation with other tests


ONERA
(Re number influence)

ILot

ONERA

Correlation with numerical computations


Wspczynniki
obcie (m = 0.052, a w = -5 [deg])
Loads
coefficients

-4

-5

x 10

x 10
T ILHX4

F ILHX4

Cmx [1]

Cx [1]

T NACA

F NACA
F ILHX4 dTheta

2
0
0

10

12

-5

10

12

10

12

10

12

-5

x 10

x 10

-5

Cmy [1]

Cy [1]

-10

4
2

-15
0

10

12

-3

-4

x 10

x 10
12
Cmz [1]

CT [1]

15
10
5

10
8
6
4
2

0
0

8
0(0.7R) [deg]

10

12

8
0(0.7R) [deg]

Use of the research results

Rotorhub deformations

Aerodynamic derivatives

Control phase angle

Summary

Wind tunnel rotorcraft tests are difficult:


vehicle complexity controlled and rotating
various aerodynamic phenomena
criterions of similarity
some modeling parameters are fixed
no direct reference to natural scale use of similarity
numbers