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Development of Magnetorheological Fluid Elastomeric Dampers for Helicopter Stability Augmentation

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Technical Report

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University of Maryland College Park United States

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Conventional lag dampers use passive materials, such as elastomers, to dissipate energy and provide stiffness, but their damping and stiffness levels diminish markedly as amplitude of damper motion increases. Magnetorheological MR fluids based dampers have controllable damping with little or no stiffness. In order to combine the advantages of both elastomeric materials and MR fluids, semi-active magnetorheological fluid elastomeric MRFE lag dampers are developed in this thesis. In such a damper configuration, magnetic valves are incorporated into the chamber enclosed by elastomeric layers. Preliminary MRFE damper design analysis was conducted using quasi-steady Bingham-plastic MR flow mode analysis, and MRFE damper performance was evaluated analytically. To investigate the feasibility of using a combination of magnetorheological MR fluids and elastomeric materials for augmentation of lag mode damping in helicopters, a semi-active linear stroke MRFE lag damper was developed as a retrofit to an existing elastomeric helicopter lag damper. Consistent with sinusoidal loading conditions for a helicopter lag damper, single frequency lagrev and dual frequency lagrev and 1rev sinusoidal loadings were applied to the MRFE damper. Complex modulus and equivalent damping were used to compare the characteristics of the MRFE damper with the passive elastomeric damper. The experimental damping characteristics of the MRFE damper were consistent with the analytical results obtained from the Bingham plastic analysis of the MR valve. Based on measurements, the Field-OFF MRFE characteristics are similar to the passive elastomeric damping, and controllable damping as a function of different flight conditions is also feasible as the applied current is varied in the MR valve. A second key objective of the present research is to develop an analytical model to describe the nonlinear behavior demonstrated by an MRFE damper.

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