Optimal Actuator Placement and Active Structure Design for Control of Helicopter Airframe Vibrations

Open Access
Heverly II, David E.
Graduate Program:
Mechanical Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 06, 2002
Committee Members:
  • Panagiotis Michaleris, Committee Member
  • Farhan Gandhi, Committee Member
  • Edward C Smith, Committee Chair
  • Kon Well Wang, Committee Chair
  • piezoelectric
  • smart structures
  • active control
  • helicopter
  • vibrations
  • actuator placement
  • structural design
  • optimization
A comprehensive research program on active control of rotorcraft airframe vibration is detailed in this thesis. A systematic design methodology, to realize an active vibration control system, is proposed and studied. The methodology is a four-part design cycle and relies heavily on numerical computation, modeling, and analysis. The various analytical tools, models, and processes required to execute the methodology are described. Two dynamic models of the helicopter airframe and an optimization procedure for actuator placement are utilized within the methodology. The optimization procedure simultaneously determines the type of actuation, the locations to apply actuation, and the corresponding active control actions. A feasibility study is conducted to examine the effectiveness of helicopter vibration control by distributing actuators at optimal locations within the airframe, rather than confining actuation to a centralized region. Results indicate that distributed actuation is capable of greater vibration suppression and requires less control effort than a centralized actuation configuration. An analytical and experimental investigation is conducted on a scaled model of a helicopter tailboom. The scaled tailboom model is used to study the actuation design and realization issues associated with integrating dual-point actuation into a semi-monocoque airframe structure. A piezoelectric stack actuator configuration is designed and installed within the tailboom model. Experimental tests indicate the stack actuator configuration is able to produce a bending moment within the structure to suppress vibration without causing excessive localized stress in the structure.