Coupled Fluidic Vibration Isolators for Rotorcraft Pitch Link Loads Reduction

Open Access
Kurczewski, Nicolas Adam
Graduate Program:
Mechanical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 29, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Christopher Rahn, Thesis Advisor
  • Edward C Smith, Thesis Advisor
  • vibration isolation
  • loads reduction
  • fluidic elements
  • fluidic system
  • pitch links
  • rotorcraft
Replacing rigid pitch links on rotorcraft with coupled fluidic devices has the potential to reduce the aerodynamic blade loads transmitted from the blade root to the swashplate. An analytical model of two coupled fluidic isolators is derived and experimentally validated for even and odd harmonic pitch link loads. The system consists of two elastomeric pumpers with fluid chambers that are coupled by an inertia track. This passive fluidic device can be tuned to reduce the transmitted force at a particular odd harmonic of the rotor speed by tailoring the fluid inertance in the inertia track. Benchtop experimental results agree with theory, demonstrating a reduction in odd harmonic pitch link loads of up to 90% compared to the system without fluid. The coupled fluidic isolators also significantly reduce transmitted loads relative to a rigid pitch link over a wide frequency range. Simulation of a UH-60 Blackhawk retrofit example shows potential for targeted odd harmonic excitation loads reduction up to 94% for multiple frequencies without affecting the even harmonic excitation response.