Damping Augmentation of Helicopter Rotors Using Magnetorheological Dampers
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This thesis describes an investigation exploring the use of magnetorheological (MR) dampers to augment the stability of helicopter rotors. Helicopters with advanced soft in-plane rotors are susceptible to ground resonance instabilities due to the coupling of the lightly damped rotor lag modes and fuselage modes. Traditional passive lag dampers, such as hydraulic or elastomeric dampers, can be used to alleviate these instabilities. However, these passive dampers suffer from the disadvantages that they produce large damper loads in forward flight conditions. These damper forces increase fatigue loads and reduce component life. Thus, it is desirable to have lag dampers be controllable or adaptable, so that the damper can apply loads only when needed. MR fluid based dampers have recently been considered for helicopter lag damping augmentation because the forces generated by these dampers can be controlled by an applied magnetic field. In this dissertation, control schemes to integrate MR dampers with helicopters are developed and the influences of the MR dampers on rotorcraft ground resonance are studied.