Significant structural vibration is an undesirable characteristic in helicopter flight that leads to structural fatigue, poor ride quality for passengers and high acoustic signature for the vehicle. Previous Individual Blade Control (IBC) techniques based on piezoelectric actuator schemes to reduce these effects have been hindered by electromechanical limitations of piezoelectric actuators. The Smart Spring is an active tunable vibration absorber using the IBC approach to adaptively alter the "structural impedance" at the blade root. In the paper, a mathematical model was developed to determine the response of the absorber under harmonic excitation. An adaptive notch algorithm using a DSP platform was developed to implement vibration control. Reference signal synthesis techniques were used to automatically track the shift in the fundamental vibratory frequency due to variations in flight conditions. Experiments using a mechanical shaker and wind tunnel tests conducted on the proof-of-concept hardware achieved significant vibration suppression at harmonic peaks. Investigation verified the capability of the Smart Spring to suppress multiple harmonic components in rotor vibration through active impedance control.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Active tunable vibration absorber, Helicopter vibration control, Smart structure
Persistent URL
Journal Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Yong, C. (C.), Zimcik, D.G. (D. G.), Wickramasinghe, V.K. (V. K.), & Nitzsche, F. (2004). Development of the smart spring for active vibration control of helicopter blades. Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, 15(1), 37–47. doi:10.1177/1045389X04039655