Story Overview

As part of a senior design project – the design and analysis of a coaxial rotor craft – Christopher Van Damme, at the time of the project senior undergraduate student within the department of Engineering Mechanics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had to analyze a composite made helicopter rotor blade. In his analysis he had to employ Computer-Aided Engineering tools to cover the required studies regarding static, modal, frequency response, and dynamic analysis of the rotor. The CAE tools of choice were Altair‘s HyperWorks suite, mainly HyperMesh, the pre-processor of the suite, and Altair‘s FE-solver and optimization tool OptiStruct.

The use of Altair HyperWorks, specifically HyperMesh and OptiStruct, allowed for a streamlined geometry creation and analysis of the composite rotor blade. HyperMesh enabled a quick, high fidelity meshing of the complex rotor blade cross sections over the entire length of the rotor blade and OptiStruct was used to solve a static load case of the highest load that the rotor blade would experience in flight.

“It was easy to work with HyperWorks, since it has a user friendly GUI and there are a lot of tutorials available online, showing you how to set up the model and handle the analysis step by step. HyperMesh and OptiStruct allowed me to handle a detailed and streamlined analysis of the composite made rotor blade and to handle the given task in an efficient manner.” -Christopher Van Damme, Masters student at the Department of Engineering Physics of the College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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