29 March 2013 Design and development of an active Gurney flap for rotorcraft
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Abstract
The EU’s Green Rotorcraft programme will develop an Active Gurney Flap (AGF) for a full-scale helicopter main rotor blade as part of its ‘smart adaptive rotor blade’ technology demonstrators. AGFs can be utilized to provide a localized and variable lift enhancement on the rotor, enabling a redistribution of loading on the rotor blade around the rotor azimuth. Further advantages include the possibility of using AGFs to allow a rotor speed reduction, which subsequently provides acoustic benefits. Designed to be integrable into a commercial helicopter blade, and thereby capable of withstanding real in-flight centrifugal loading, blade vibrations and aerodynamic loads, the demonstrator is expected to achieve a high technology readiness level (TRL). The AGF will be validated initially by a constant blade section 2D wind tunnel test and latterly by full blade 3D whirl tower testing. This paper presents the methodology adopted for the AGF concept topology selection, based on a series of both qualitative and quantitative performance criteria. Two different AGF candidate mechanisms are compared, both powered by a small commercial electromagnetic actuator. In both topologies, the link between the actuator and the control surface consists of two rotating torque bars, pivoting on flexure bearings. This provides the required reliability and precision, while making the design virtually frictionless. The engineering analysis presented suggests that both candidates would perform satisfactorily in a 2D wind tunnel test, but that equally, both have design constraints which limit their potential to be further taken into a whirl tower test under full scale centrifugal and inertial loads.
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Jon Freire Gómez, Julian D. Booker, Phil H. Mellor, "Design and development of an active Gurney flap for rotorcraft", Proc. SPIE 8690, Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies 2013, 86900F (29 March 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2009051; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2009051
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