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Active Fin-Buffeting Alleviation for Fighter Aircraft

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Severe structural vibrations can be induced in tails of high performance aircraft flying at high angles of attack by vortices originating from wingfuselage leading edge extensions. The resulting loads may lead to increased material fatigue and require an augmented effort in aircraft maintenance. A number of different concepts have been proposed to either avoid the excitation of the tail fin by bursting vortices or to dampen the resulting structural vibrations. In the early 9Os active system concepts were suggested as an efficient way for active buffet load alleviation. In order to investigate the performance of such systems a collaborative research project was initiated between DaimlerChrysler Aerospace Military Aircraft Division, the German Aerospace Center DLR and DaimlerChrysler Research and Technology within the framework of the Advanced Aircraft Structures Program. Four concepts were investigated in detail within this project An active rudder, an active auxiliary rudder a piezo-controlled interface and a system of surface-mounted or structurally integrated piezoelectric patch actuators. The feasibility of all these concepts could be proven and their performance could be assessed in an extensive theoretical analysis that involved the complete aircraft system, as well as in wind tunnel tests on the rudder concepts and, for the piezo-controlled concepts, in tests on a laboratory demonstrator that was conceived, designed and manufactured to be dynamically equivalent to a typical fighter aircraft fin. In addition, a materials qualification program was initiated in order to demonstrate the compatibility of structures with integrated piezoceramic actuators with the requirements imposed through the application in a modem fighter aircraft tail. In this way the maturity of this emerging new technology could be shown and an eventual demonstrator phase was prepared.

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  • Aerodynamics

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