Research Papers

Coupled Flight-Dynamic and Low-Order Aeroelastic Model for a Slender Launch Vehicle

[+] Author and Article Information
Andrew J. Sinclair

Associate Professor
Aerospace Engineering Department,
Auburn University,
Auburn, Alabama 36849
e-mail: sinclair@auburn.edu

George T. Flowers

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Auburn University,
Auburn, Alabama 36849
e-mail: flowegt@auburn.edu

Contributed by the Design Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Vibration and Acoustics. Manuscript received January 24, 2011; final manuscript received April 30, 2012; published online February 25, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Bogdan Epureanu.

J. Vib. Acoust 135(2), 021002 (Feb 25, 2013) (8 pages) Paper No: VIB-11-1015; doi: 10.1115/1.4023049 History: Received January 24, 2011; Revised April 30, 2012

This paper presents a method to develop a low-order aeroelastic model that qualitatively captures some of the phenomena experienced by launch vehicles, suitable for use in preliminary controller design. Equations of motion for the two-dimensional dynamics are derived by treating the vehicle as a beam with a gimbaled nozzle attached at the aft end. The flexible-body dynamics are kinematically described using a modal representation. An aerodynamic model focuses on flow separations at diameter transitions in the transonic regime that can lead to lengthwise variations in the applied aerodynamic force. Additionally, convective effects are modeled that lead to time lag in the aerodynamic forces. The equations of motion are tenth order when neglecting convective effects and twelfth order when including convective effects. The model demonstrates some of the possible coupling that occurs between rigid-body, flexible-body, and aerodynamic states. For representative parameter values, the aeroelastic coupling can destabilize the flexible-body motion. The resulting linearized model is not fully controllable, however, is stabilizable.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Kinematic definitions for the aeroelastic model

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

First two modes for a free-free beam

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Aerodynamic normal force




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