Nonlinear flutter wind tunnel test and numerical analysis of folding fins with freeplay nonlinearities

The flutter characteristics of folding control fins with freeplay are investigated by numer- ical simulation and flutter wind tunnel tests. Based on the characteristics of the structures, fins with different freeplay angles are designed. For a 0° angle of attack, wind tunnel tests of these fins are conducted, and vibration is observed by accelerometers and a high-speed camera. By the expansion of the connected relationships, the governing equations of fit for the nonlinear aeroelastic analysis are established by the free-interface component mode synthesis method. Based on the results of the wind tunnel tests, the flutter characteristics of fins with different freeplay angles are analyzed. The results show that the vibration divergent speed is increased, and the divergent speed is higher than the flutter speed of the nominal linear system. The vibration divergent speed is increased along with an increase in the freeplay angle. The developed free-interface component mode synthesis method could be used to establish governing equations and to analyze the characteristics of nonlinear aeroe- lastic systems. The results of the numerical simulations and the wind tunnel tests indicate the same trends and critical velocities.