Progressive failure analysis of helicopter rotor blade under aeroelastic loading


Unlike metal structure, composite structures don’t give any clue till the fatal final collapse. The problem is more complicated when applied load on the structure is aeroelastic in nature. Under such loading, composite laminate experiences stresses. The first layer failure happens when stresses in the weakest ply exceed the allowable strength of the laminate. This initial layer-based failure changes overall material characteristics. It is important now to degrade the composite laminate characteristics for the subsequent failure prediction. The constitutive relations are required to be updated by the reduction in stiffness. The rest of the undamaged laminates continue to take the load till the updated strength is reached. In the present work, layer wise progressive failure analysis under aeroelastic loading has been performed by the inclusion of different failure criteria which allow for the identification of the location of the failure. ANSYS APDL environment has been used to model geometry of helicopter rotor. Under the loading conditions, stresses are calculated in the blade. Using stress tensor and failure criteria, failure location and modes have been predicted. It has been found that failure starts at higher speeds and failure starts from the root chord and tend towards the tip chord.

Keyword : progressive failure, aeroelastic loading, helicopter rotor blade, finite element method, mode shape

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Ahmad, K., Baig, Y., Rahman, H. and Hasham, H.J. 2020. Progressive failure analysis of helicopter rotor blade under aeroelastic loading. Aviation. 24, 1 (Apr. 2020), 33-41. DOI:
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Apr 23, 2020
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