Characterization of a 3DOF aeroelastic system with freeplay and aerodynamic nonlinearities – Part I: Higher-order spectra

Michael Candon, Robert Carrese, Hideaki Ogawa, Pier Marzocca, Carl Mouser, Oleg Levinski, Walter A. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The identification of nonlinear systems in aeroelasticity poses a significant challenge for practitioners, often hampered by the complex nature of aeroelastic response data which may contain multiple forms of nonlinearity. Characterizing and quantifying nonlinearities is further hampered when the response is obtained at a location which is away from the nonlinear source and/or the response is contaminated by noise. In the present paper, a three-degree-of-freedom airfoil with a freeplay nonlinearity located in the control surface and exposed to transonic flow is investigated. In this Part I paper the main form of analysis is via higher-order spectra techniques to unveil features of the nonlinear mechanism which result from i) structural nonlinearities (freeplay) in isolation and ii) freeplay with Euler derived nonlinear inviscid aerodynamic phenomena (transition between Tijdeman Type-A and Type-B shock motion). It is shown that the control surface structural freeplay nonlinearity is characterized by strong cubic phase-coupling between linear and nonlinear modes. On the other hand, nonlinear inviscid flow phenomena are shown to be characterized by quadratic phase-coupling between linear and nonlinear modular modes, the strength of which is related to the strength of the aerodynamic nonlinearity (amplitude of the shock motion). The nonlinear inviscid flow phenomena do not appear to affect the identification of the freeplay nonlinearity. Conjectures are made which address the transition between aperiodic, quasi-periodic and periodic behavior (pre-flutter), further physical support towards these conjectures is provided in Part II [1]. The limitations of the higher-order spectra approach are assessed, in particular, the analysis demonstrates the difficulty in extracting natural frequencies with this approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-807
Number of pages27
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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