INVESTIGATION OF COMPOUND ROTORCRAFT AEROMECHANICS THROUGH WIND-TUNNEL TESTING AND ANALYSIS
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The aeromechanics of a slowed-rotor compound rotorcraft is investigated through wind-tunnel testing and comprehensive analysis. The emphasis is on a lift-offset wing compound with a hingeless rotor configuration. A new Maryland Compound Rig is developed and instrumented for wind-tunnel testing and an in-house rotor comprehensive code is modified and expanded for compound rotorcraft analysis. The compound rig consists of a lift compound model and a propeller model. The lift compound model consists of an interchangeable hub (articulated or hingeless), a fuselage, a half-wing of 70% rotor radius on the retreating side. The wing has a dedicated load cell and multiple attachment points relative to the rotor hub (16%R, 24%R, and 32%R and 5%R aft of the hub). The rotor diameter is 5.7-ft. The rotor has four blades with NACA 0012 airfoils with no twist and no taper. The wing incidence angle is variable between 0 to 12 degrees. The wing has a linearly varying thickness with symmetric airfoils NACA 0015 at the tip and NACA 0020 at the root. Sensors can measure rotor hub forces and moments, wing root forces and moments, blade pitch angles, structural loads (flap bending moment, lagbending moment, and torsional moment) at 25%R, pitch link loads, and hub vibratory loads. Wind tunnel tests are conducted up to advance ratio 0.7 for lift compound with half-wing at wing incidence angles of 4 and 8 degrees and compared with an isolated rotor. Hover tests are conducted up to tip Mach number of 0.5 to measure download penalty with the wing at various positions. The University of Maryland Advanced Rotorcraft Code (UMARC) is modified for compound rotorcraft analysis code. Aerodynamic models for the wing and the propeller are integrated. A recently developed Maryland Free Wake model is integrated, which can model the wake interaction between unequal and inharmonic speed rotor, wing, and propeller. The analysis is then validated with the test data. The validated analysis is used to analyze the US Army hypothetical full-scale aircraft. The compound rotorcraft is categorized into multiple configurations in a systematic manner to find the extreme limits of speed and efficiency of each. The key conclusions are: 1) slowing the rotor or compounding the configuration provide no benefit individually; they must be accomplished together, 2) Half-Wing is more beneficial if a lift-offset hingeless rotor is used, 3) hover download penalty is only 3% of net thrust, and this penalty can be predicted satisfactorily by free wake, 4) the main rotor wake interaction is more pronounced on the wing and less on the propeller, 5) the validated analysis indicates a speed of 240 knots may be possible with 20% RPM reduction along with a wing and propeller, if structural weights allow, and 6) the oscillatory and vibratory lag moments and in-plane hub loads may be significantly reduced by compounding.