FLUTTER OF AN AIRFOIL WITH A CUBIC RESTORING FORCE
In this paper, the effect of a cubic structural restoring force on the flutter characteristics of a two-dimensional airfoil placed in an incompressible flow is investigated. The aeroelastic equations of motion are written as a system of eight first-order ordinary differential equations. Given the initial values of plunge and pitch displacements and their velocities, the system of equations is integrated numerically using a fourth order Runge-Kutta scheme. Results for soft and hard springs are presented for a pitch degree-of-freedom nonlinearity. The study shows the dependence of the divergence flutter boundary on initial conditions for a soft spring. For a hard spring, the nonlinear flutter boundary is independent of initial conditions for the spring constants considered. The flutter speed is identical to that for a linear spring. Divergent flutter is not encountered, but instead limit-cycle oscillation occurs for velocities greater than the flutter speed. The behaviour of the airfoil is also analysed using analytical techniques developed for nonlinear dynamical systems. The Hopf bifurcation point is determined analytically and the amplitude of the limit-cycle oscillation in post-Hopf bifurcation for a hard spring is predicted using an asymptotic theory. The frequency of the limit-cycle oscillation is estimated from an approximate method. Comparisons with numerical simulations are carried out and the accuracy of the approximate method is discussed. The analysis can readily be extended to study limit-cycle oscillation of airfoils with nonlinear polynomial spring forces in both plunge and pitch degrees of freedom.