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Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control

Modeling of Coaxial Helicopters


(with a focus on classic rotor dynamics theory)

Christoph Hrzeler

Course Contents
Part 1 - Introduction:
Goals of the Course Overview of Coaxial Helicopters General Modeling Methodologies Levels of Modeling

Part 2 Rotorcraft Modeling


Modeling Introduction Modeling Main Aerodynamic Forces Modeling Blade Flapping The Coaxial Rotor

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 1 Goals of the Course

Know how to derive models for the most relevant effects Better understand why and how helicopters work Gain capability to read into more advanced topics

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 1 Modeling Levels & Methodologies


Blackbox
Identify input-output behavior No understanding of underlying system

Greybox
Based on laws of physics Identify model parameters

Whitebox
Purely based on laws of physics All parameters predicted

www.johnson-aeronautics.com

www.continuum-dynamics.com

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 1 Coaxial Helicopters


All thrust forces used for lifting No exposed tail rotor Advantage in forward flight Higher complexity rotor hub Higher maintenance cost

Helicopter rotor in forward flight:

Advancing Blade

Retreating Blade

Lift loss on retreating blade limits maximum forward flight velocity To some extent compensated on coaxial rotor

Reverse Flow Region Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft 5

Part 1 Coaxial Helicopter Acuation Systems


Full-Scale:
Fixed RPM Dual swashplate
Note the fundamental difference of the acutation system in a full-scale and smallscale (toy) coaxial helicopter

Miniature-Scale
Varying RPM Single swashplate & stabilizer bar No collective

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 1 ASL Coaxial Helicopter History


The CoaX Family muFly Prototypes AIRobots CX

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 1 AIRobots CX Actuation System

Focus on the lower rotor of the AIRobotsCX

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 2 Model Overview


Collective and cyclic pitch swashplate

Lower Rotor Block Diagram

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 1 Rotor Degrees of Freedom


Feathering (Pitch)
Lead-lag degree of freedom not as relevant for free-flight dynamics as flapping and feathering

Flapping

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Part 1 Rotor Degrees of Freedom


Feathering (Pitch)
Periodic functions of rotor azimuth Rotor azimuth

Collective pitch

Flapping

Longitudinal cyclic

Lateral cyclic

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft Longitudinal flapping Lateral flapping Rotor coning

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Part 2 Rigid Body Dynamics

General concept of modelling: 1.) Model rigidbody dynamics 2.) Attach external forces & moments to body dynamics (e.g. rotor forces & moments) 12 3.) Model forces & moments in detail

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 2 Rigid Body Dynamics

Velocities and accelerations derived from kinematics of rigid body

Momentum Conservation Angular Momentum Conservation Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft 13

Part 2 External Forces and Moments

Gravity Force

Thrust Force

Hub Body Drag Force Force

Thrust Tilt Flapping Moment Moment


Next steps: Derive models for rotor thrust, torque and flapping moments. To do so we want to first find expressions for the thrust and torque as well as for the the flapping coefficients

Hub Force Moment

Rotor Torque
Body drag and hub forces/moments have NOT been discussed...

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Part 2 Coordinate Frame Definition


{W}: World frame with origin O {B}: Rigid body frame with origin S {B}: Hub-wind frame with origin S {H}: Rotor hub frame with origin N {K}: Rotor flap frame with origin E G: Rotor blade center of gravity

Our helicopter is essentially a multi-body system. We need to define the degrees of freedom and corresponding coordinate frames

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Express coordinates of vector "a" (currently expressd in frame D) with respect to frame C using the rotation matrix from D to C 15

Part 2 Special Case of the Hub-Wind Frame


{W}: World frame with origin O {B}: Rigid body frame with origin S {B}: Hub-wind frame with origin S {H}: Rotor hub frame with origin N {K}: Rotor flap frame with origin E G: Rotor blade center of gravity

Idea of the hub-wind frame is to express all rotor dynamics in a coordinate frame which only knows a forward but NO lateral velocity.

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

This simplifies the expressions for our blade 16 aerodynamics

Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Blade Element Theory

We want to look at the airfoil segment dr to derive the forces and moments it generates while moving with the helicopter body and around the rotor shaft axis

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Blade Forces

Rotor Torque Rotor Thrust

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Blade Forces

Profile Drag

Induced Drag

Rotor Torque Rotor Thrust

Usually neglectable

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Blade Forces

Rotor Torque Rotor Thrust

To compute the lift and drag forces we need models for the lift and drag coefficients AND the inflow velocity "U"

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Angle of Attack

Note: We assume the pitch angle theta is positive if the airfoil tips "up" and negative if it tips "down" Independently of how the flapping frame {K} was defined

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Lift and Drag Coefficients (1)

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Lift and Drag Coefficients (2)


Lift & Drag Polars for NACA 4412

linear

quadratic

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Blade Lift and Drag

Introduce our coefficient models

Rotor Torque Rotor Thrust

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Inflow Velocities (1)

Perpendicular Inflow Tangential Inflow

Because on a helicopter rotor its much larger than the perpendicular inflow

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Inflow Velocities (2)

Rotorcraft body pitch and roll rates with respect to hub-wind frame {B'}

Rotorcraft body pitch and roll rates with respect to hub frame {H}

Rotor Velocity

Longitudinal Inflow Inflow due to Pitch Motion

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Part 2 Blade Aerodynamics: Inflow Velocities (3)

In case of the lower coaxial rotor, w' may also be useful to account for the downwash of the upper rotor (only near hover though)

Induced Velocity

Roll rate about hub y-axis

Longitudinal Inflow due to Flapping Blade Flap Velocity 27

Climb/Descent Rate Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Part 2 Rotor Forces & Torques (Connecting the Pieces)

For this course we focus on the most relevant inflow components

Introduce inflow models to lift and drag increments Calculate main forces

Integrate over blade radius Average over rotor azimuth Sum over number of blades
Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft Compute the average over
rotor azimuth Integrate over blade radius

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Part 2 Rotor Torque

We execute the procedure described on the last slide to compute rotor torque

Induced Drag

Profile Drag

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Assuming perfect hover we can further simplify this

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Part 2 Rotor Torque

Simplified torque coefficient for hovering rotor

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Part 2 Rotor Thrust


We do the same for thrust

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Tip-path plane normal defines direction of thrust vector. Note: Part 2 Rotor Thrust the flapping coefficients are defined with respect to the hub-wind frame {B'} and NOT the body frame {B}

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Part 2 Rotor Flapping Moment

Having defined thrust and torque we investigate a more complex phenomenon: blade flapping...

Spring stiffness coefficient

The flapping moment is most relevant for the pitch/roll motion of the rotorcraft

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Part 2 Blade Flapping: Rotor Hub Designs

The hub-design fundamentally affects the flapping behavior. All of these designs can be captured with ONE mathematical model only.

Fully Articulated

Teetering

Hingeless

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Part 2 Blade Flapping: Linear Flap Spring Model

Virtual hinge to also capture the hingeless rotor

Virtual Hinge with Spring

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Part 2 Blade Flapping: Flapping Dynamics (1)


Derivation Procedure
Dettach Blade from Hub Formulate Angular Momentum Conservation Law for Blade Body Extract Flap Dynamics Introduce Steady-State Solution Solve for Flap Coefficients

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Part 2 Blade Flapping: Flapping Dynamics (2)

Look at the blade forces & moments affecting flapping

Only y-component of flapping dynamics relevant Moment due to aerodynamic blade forces

Moment due to gravity (neglected)

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft Flap spring moment

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Part 2 Blade Flapping: Flapping Dynamics (3)

Flapping = Damped Oscilator


After lots of algebra we arrive at something that might look like this

if no mechanical dampers are part of the system, damping comes only from the aerodynamics!

"Lock number" characterizes the magnitude of aerodynamic effects

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Part 2 Blade Flapping: Flapping Dynamics (3)

Blade flap inertia

Flapping Frequency Ratio


Characterizes the rotor hub stiffness

Lock Number
Ratio between aerodynamic effects vs. inertial effects

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Part 2 Blade Flapping: Steady State Flapping

We introduce the steady-state flapping model to find expressions for steady state flapping

We can derive a system of equations for the flapping coefficients

Looking at the details of this system allows insight into the basic flap behavior of a rotor (e.g. flap phase-lag etc.)

Steady-State Flapping Response

Forcing Terms
only blade feathering can be actively controlled

Flapping Behavior Dominated by

and

Unmanned Aircraft Design, Modeling and Control - Rotorcraft

Matrices A heavily depend on flapping frequency ratio and Lock number

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Part 2 Rotor Flapping Moment

For a simple low-frequency rotor model we can directly introduce the steady-state coefficients into our flap moments. A better flapping model would account for the flapping dynamics (and not only for the steady-state response)

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Part 2 Extension to Full Coaxial Rotor System

To derive a model of a coaxial rotor we extend the single rotor theory

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Part 2 Conclusion
Modeling the dynamics of helicopters is difficult

How the downwash of the upper rotor affects the lower rotor not only in hover but e.g. also in forward flight requires advanced numerical methods. This would go far beyond the scope of this lecture...

Helicopters are vibrations kept together by differential equations


J. Watkinson

Coaxial Rotor Interaction has not been treated Modeling in Forward-Flight & Axial Descent very difficult
(especially for the coaxial)

Further recommended reading


Principles of Helicopter Aerodynamics, G. Leishman Helicopter Performance, Stability and Control, R. Prouty Helicopter Flight Dynamics, G. Padfield (pdf @ ethbib) Many more
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