Design optimization of a controllable camber rotor airfoil

Farhan Gandhi, Mary Frecker, Andrew Nissly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


A conformable airfoil is proposed as an alternative to trailing-edge flaps used for active helicopter vibration reduction through high-frequency changes in camber. The design consists of several compliant mechanisms of predetermined topology that are placed serially within the airfoil along the chord, aft of the leading-edge spar. A shape optimization approach is used to design the compliant mechanisms, in which the objective is to maximize trailing-edge deflection while minimizing airfoil deflections due to aerodynamic loads. Solutions were obtained using a sequential linear programming method coupled with a finite element analysis. An optimized shape is predicted to achieve a trailing-edge deflection of ±6.0 mm or a ±4.6- deg equivalent flap deflection angle using the tip deflection objective. Results indicate that the deflection is dependent on the amount of passive material allowed and the objective function used. The aerodynamic loads are found to cause only small deformations in comparison with those caused by the actuation. Prototype fabrication and bench-top tests demonstrated that rotor airfoil camber is controllable using the proposed concept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-153
Number of pages12
JournalAIAA journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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