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Proceedings Paper

Stress optimization of leaf-spring crossed flexure pivots for an active Gurney flap mechanism
Author(s): Jon Freire Gómez; Julian D. Booker; Phil H. Mellor
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Paper Abstract

The EU’s Green Rotorcraft programme is pursuing the development of a functional and airworthy Active Gurney Flap (AGF) for a full-scale helicopter rotor blade. Interest in the development of this ‘smart adaptive rotor blade’ technology lies in its potential to provide a number of aerodynamic benefits, which would in turn translate into a reduction in fuel consumption and noise levels. The AGF mechanism selected employs leaf-spring crossed flexure pivots. These provide important advantages over bearings as they are not susceptible to seizing and do not require maintenance (i.e. lubrication or cleaning). A baseline design of this mechanism was successfully tested both in a fatigue rig and in a 2D wind tunnel environment at flight-representative deployment schedules. For full validation, a flight test would also be required. However, the severity of the in-flight loading conditions would likely compromise the mechanical integrity of the pivots’ leaf-springs in their current form. This paper investigates the scope for stress reduction through three-dimensional shape optimization of the leaf-springs of a generic crossed flexure pivot. To this end, a procedure combining a linear strain energy formulation, a parametric leaf-spring profile definition and a series of optimization algorithms is employed. The resulting optimized leaf-springs are proven to be not only independent of the angular rotation at which the pivot operates, but also linearly scalable to leaf-springs of any length, minimum thickness and width. Validated using non-linear finite element analysis, the results show very significant stress reductions relative to pivots with constant cross section leaf-springs, of up to as much as 30% for the specific pivot configuration employed in the AGF mechanism. It is concluded that shape optimization offers great potential for reducing stress in crossed flexure pivots and, consequently, for extending their fatigue life and/or rotational range.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 April 2015
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 9433, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2015, 943307 (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2082890
Show Author Affiliations
Jon Freire Gómez, Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Julian D. Booker, Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Phil H. Mellor, Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9433:
Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2015
Kevin M. Farinholt; Steven F. Griffin, Editor(s)

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