Phenomenology of Nonlinear Aeroelastic Responses of Highly Deformable Joined Wings

Rauno Cavallaro, Andrea Iannelli, Luciano Demasi, Alan M. Razón

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

19 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic aeroelastic behavior of structurally nonlinear Joined Wings is presented. Three configurations, two characterized by a different location of the joint and one presenting a direct connection between the two wings (Sensorcraft-like layout) are investigated.
The snap-divergence is studied from a dynamic perspective in order to assess the real response of the configuration. The investigations also focus on the flutter occurrence (critical state) and postcritical phenomena. Limit Cycle Oscillations (LCOs) are observed followed by a loss of periodicity of the solution as speed is further increased. In some cases, it is also possible to ascertain the presence of period doubling (flip-) bifurcations.
Differences between flutter (Hopf’s bifurcation) speed evaluated with linear and nonlinear analyses are discussed in depth in order to understand if a linear (and thus computationally less intense) representation provides an acceptable estimate of the instability properties.
Both frequency- and time-domain approaches are compared. Moreover, aerodynamic solvers based on the potential flow are critically examined. In particular, it is assessed in what measure more sophisticated aerodynamic and interface models impact the aeroelastic predictions.
When the use of the tools gives different results, a physical interpretation of the leading mechanism generating the mismatch is provided. In particular, for PrandtlPlane-like configurations the aeroelastic response is very sensitive to the wake’s shape. As a consequence, it is suggested that a more sophisticate modeling of the wake positively impacts the reliability of aerodynamic and aeroelastic analysis.
For Sensorcraft-like configurations some LCOs are characterized by a non-synchronous motion of the inner and outer portion of the lower wing: the wing’s tip exhibits a small oscillation during the descending or ascending phase, whereas the mid-span station describes a sinusoidal-like trajectory in the time-domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-168
Number of pages44
JournalAdvances in Aircraft and Spacecraft Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Code implementation
  • Bifurcations
  • Limit cycle oscillations
  • Flutter


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