Geometric optimisation of a gurney flap henge-less deployment system for a helicopter model blade


Paternoster, A.R.A. and Loendersloot, R. and Boer, A. de and Akkerman, R. (2011) Geometric optimisation of a gurney flap henge-less deployment system for a helicopter model blade. In: European Rotorcraft Forum, Milaan, Italy.

open access
Abstract:Following a comparative study on shape morphing and
adaptive systems to improve rotorcraft efficiency, the
Green Rotorcraft consortium has selected the Gurney
flap technology as demonstrator of a smart adaptive
rotorblade within the Clean Sky Joint Technology Initiative
[1]. The aim of such a system is to actively
increase helicopter overall performance by improving
lift and alleviating static and dynamic stall on the retreating
side of the helicopter [2, 3]. The Gurney flap
technology will be subjected to various tests, prior to
manufacturing a full-scale demonstrator. Along with
wind tunnel and whirl tower tests on full blade sections,
a reduced-scale blade is required to be tested
on a rotary support in a wind tunnel. The aim is to
have a fully operational mechanism in a 1/8th-scale
blade. A specific system needs to be designed for this
smaller model blade. The specifications for the model
blade mechanism are more challenging compared to
the full model blade. The blade tip speed must remain
the same between the two blades. Therefore, the model
blade rotation speed and centrifugal loads greatly increase.
Piezoelectric patch actuators combined with
flexible beams are chosen to design a fast and robust
mechanism, which would fit inside the model blade and
support the large centrifugal loads. A mechanism is
modeled using Finite Element Analysis tools and its geometry
is optimised using a surrogate optimisation to
maximise displacement and force. The optimised geometry
has a Z-shape profile and maximise displacement
and force. The force generated is sufficient to
counter directly the force of the airflow on the flap.
However, the displacement and the mechanical work
are not large enough to deploy directly the Gurney flap
as a conventional flap. The deployment time remains
insufficient as well. Building on these results, refined
geometries are under investigation using the same optimisation
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