Dynamics of a pneumatic artificial muscle actuation system driving a trailing edge flap

Benjamin K.S. Woods, Curt S. Kothera, Gang Wang, Norman M. Wereley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents a time domain dynamic model of an antagonistic pneumatic artificial muscle (PAM) driven trailing edge flap (TEF) system for next generation active helicopter rotors. Active rotor concepts are currently being widely researched in the rotorcraft community as a means to provide a significant leap forward in performance through primary aircraft control, vibration mitigation and noise reduction. Recent work has shown PAMs to be a promising candidate for active rotor actuation due to their combination of high force, large stroke, light weight, and suitable bandwidth. When arranged into biologically inspired agonist/antagonist muscle pairs they can produce bidirectional torques for effectively driving a TEF. However, there are no analytical dynamic models in the literature that can accurately capture the behavior of such systems across the broad range of frequencies required for this demanding application. This work combines mechanical, pneumatic, and aerodynamic component models into a global flap system model developed for the Bell 407 rotor system. This model can accurately predict pressure, force, and flap angle response to pneumatic control valve inputs over a range of operating frequencies from 7 to 35 Hz (1/rev to 5/rev for the Bell 407) and operating pressures from 30 to 90 psi.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095014
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • antagonistic actuation
  • dynamics
  • pneumatic
  • trailing edge flap

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