Aeroelasticity is the study of the interaction of aerodynamic, elastic and inertia forces. For fixed wing aircraft there are two key areas: (a) static aeroelasticity, where the deformation of the aircraft influences the lift distribution, can lead to the statically unstable condition of divergence and will normally reduce the control surface effectiveness, and (b) dynamic aeroelasticity, which includes the critical area of flutter, where the aircraft can become dynamically unstable in a condition where the structure extracts energy from the air stream.
Aircraft are also subject to a range of static and dynamic loads resulting from flight manoeuvres (equilibrium/steady and dynamic), ground manoeuvres and gust/turbulence encounters. These load cases are responsible for the critical design loads over the aircraft structure and hence influence the structural design. Determination of such loads involves consideration of aerodynamic, elastic and inertia effects and requires the solution of the dynamic responses; consequently there is a strong link between aeroelasticity and loads.
The aircraft vibration characteristics and response are a result of the flexible modes combining with the rigid body dynamics, with the inclusion of the flight control system (FCS) if it is present. In this latter case, the aircraft will be a closed loop system and the FCS affects both the aeroelasticity and loads behaviour. The interaction between the FCS and the aeroelastic system is often called ...
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