Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science


Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Dr. Uttam K. Chakravarty

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul J. Schilling

Third Advisor

Dr. Martin J. Guillot

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lothar Birk

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Leszek Malkinski


The helicopter possesses the unrivaled capacity for vertical takeoff and landing which has made the helicopter suitable for numerous tasks such as carrying passengers and equipment, providing air medical services, firefighting, and other military and civil tasks. The nature of the aerodynamic environment surrounding the helicopter gives rise to a significant amount of vibration to its whole body. Among different sources of vibrations, the main rotor blade is the major contributor. The dynamic characteristics of the hingeless rotor consisting of elastic blades are of particular interest because of the strongly coupled equations of motion. The elastic rotor blades are subjected to coupled flapping, lead-lag, and torsional (triply coupled) deflections. Once these deflections exceed the maximum allowable level, the structural integrity of the rotor blade is affected leading to the ultimate failure. The maximum deflection that a blade can undergo for a specific operating condition needs to be estimated. Therefore, in this study, the triply coupled free and forced response of the Bo 105 hingeless, composite helicopter rotor blade is investigated at hovering and forward flights. At first, a model of the composite cross-section of the rotor blade is proposed for which a semi-analytical procedure is developed to estimate the sectional properties. These properties are used in the mathematical model of the free vibration of the rotor blade having the proposed cross-section to solve for the natural frequencies and the mode shapes. The aerodynamic loadings from the strip theory are used to estimate the time-varying forced response of the rotor blade for hovering and forward flights. The large flapping and inflow angles are introduced in the mathematical model of the forward flight and the corresponding nonlinear mathematical model requires a numerical solution technique. Therefore, a generalization of the method of lines is performed to develop a robust numerical solution in terms of time-varying deflections and velocities. The effect of the unsteady aerodynamics at the forward flight is included in the mathematical model to estimate the corresponding dynamic response. Both the analytical and the numerical models are validated by finite element results and the convergence study for the free vibration is performed.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.