Blade Vortex Interaction (BVI) poses a problem in modern helicopter rotor blade design, causing unwanted noise and vibration during flight operation. Previous research solutions have been investigated using smart materials to reduce the effects of BVI by integrating active elements into the rotor blade and inducing an angle of twist of the entire blade to change the blade local angle of attack. The current work seeks a more subtle approach to alleviate BVI effects by inducing shape change of only the rotor blade nose, as opposed to twisting of the entire blade. Shape change is accomplished by the control of integrated Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) based Active Fiber Composite (AFC) elements in the nose section of a NACA0012 airfoil. Actuation design is accomplished by starting from an analytical characterization of AFC actuation and extending the model to finite element analysis and development of materials data to be used in ANSYS for structural actuation design purposes. A Finite Element Model (FEM) study on the static deformation capability of AFC actuators under static boundary conditions and linear deformation is presented. The FEM assumes that deformation of the structure occurs due to the applied electric potential and resulting displacement field in the AFC. The strain, stress, electric and displacement fields are presented and validated against analytical results for standard piezoelectric problems. ANSYS was used to investigate the shape deformation ability of an airfoil with active regions.

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Conference 16th International Conference on Adaptive Structures and Technologies, ICAST
Melnykowycz, M. (Mark), Martinez, M, Nitzsche, F, Barbezat, M. (Michel), & Artemev, A. (2006). Active airfoil design and finite element analysis of smart structures for rotor blade applications. In 16th International Conference on Adaptive Structures and Technologies (pp. 182–189).