Full Blade Digital Image Correlation (DIC) Test Apparatus

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The objective of this study was to design a Digital Image Correlation (DIC) apparatuscapable of measuring sectional stiffness properties of full scale helicopter blades within preexisting facilities. To do so, this study expanded on previous studies findings that deemed DIC apparatus as an ideal system to measure the strain field over composite blades. To determine the ideal apparatus to measure the sectional stiffness properties of full scale blades that can be used at facilities such as Fort Eustis in Newport News, VA., two initial concepts -the gantry and stationary system- were investigated. The study used analytical matrices like the Pugh’s matrix to down select to an ideal apparatus. The study determined the ideal design through cost, distance from the blade, and accuracy to finalize a potential solution. This study identified the stationary system as the ideal system for this purpose. The proposed solution would have an initial cost of $100,000 to acquire the required equipment proposed in the current study. Through empirical and analytical methods, the solution would be able to measure the strain field within 1%.