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Shock and Vibration
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5090719, 17 pages
Research Article

Geometrically Nonlinear Aeroelastic Stability Analysis and Wind Tunnel Test Validation of a Very Flexible Wing

1School of Aeronautics Science and Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing, China
2Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK

Received 21 December 2015; Revised 22 March 2016; Accepted 3 April 2016

Academic Editor: Samuel da Silva

Copyright © 2016 Changchuan Xie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


VFAs (very flexible aircraft) have begun to attract significant attention because of their good flight performances and significant application potentials; however, they also bring some challenges to researchers due to their unusual lightweight designs and large elastic deformations. A framework for the geometrically nonlinear aeroelastic stability analysis of very flexible wings is constructed in this paper to illustrate the unique aeroelastic characteristics and convenient use of these designs in engineering analysis. The nonlinear aeroelastic analysis model includes the geometrically nonlinear structure finite elements and steady and unsteady nonplanar aerodynamic computations (i.e., the nonplanar vortex lattice method and nonplanar doublet-lattice method). Fully nonlinear methods are used to analyse static aeroelastic features, and linearized structural dynamic equations are established at the structural nonlinear equilibrium state to estimate the stability of the system through the quasimode of the stressed and deformed structure. The exact flutter boundary is searched via an iterative procedure. A wind tunnel test is conducted to validate this theoretical analysis framework, and reasonable agreement is obtained. Both the analysis and test results indicate that the geometric nonlinearity of very flexible wings presents significantly different aeroelastic characteristics under different load cases with large deformations.