U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Journal of Fluids and Structures 36, 2013


U S. Government work.


The usefulness of flutter as a design metric is diluted for wings with destabilizing (softening) nonlinearities, as a stable high-amplitude limit cycle (subcritical) may exist for flight speeds well below the flutter point. It is thus desired to design aeroelastic structures such that the post-flutter behavior is as benign (i.e., supercritical) as possible, among the other constraints commonly considered in the optimization process. In order to account for these metrics in an accurate and efficient manner, direct tools are utilized to first locate the Hopf-point (flutter speed), and then to obtain a nonlinear perturbation solution via the method of multiple scales. The latter scheme provides a scalar variable whose sign and magnitude dictate the nature of the limit cycle. The accuracy of these methods is demonstrated with a high-aspect-ratio highly flexible wing, modeled with nonlinear beam finite elements and the ONERA dynamic stall tool. Stiffness and inertial design variables are allowed to vary spatially throughout the wing, in order to conduct gradient-based optimization of the limit cycle under flutter and mass constraints. The resulting wing structure demonstrates strongly supercritical behavior, as well as several design conflicts between linear (flutter) and nonlinear (limit cycles) sensitivities, which are not present in the uniform baseline wing.