Helirotor

Helirotor

Installation of a rig for testing scale helicopter rotor blades

Helicopter operation relies upon the rapid spinning of a rotor or rotors, which subsequently causes vibrations throughout the system. It is vital to know and understand how these vibrations will affect the structure and components in the system to prevent any problems or damage. Extensive testing and modeling of the blades and the system is therefore required for the system to be deemed safe for operation, and to be successfully certified to national and international standards. Due to this, research into new methods of modeling helicoptor rotor blades is a continuing task of topical interest.

The Helirotor project primarily consisted of the design and manufacture of a helirotor rig, which is for the purpose of testing one-fifth scale helicoptor rotor blades. The rotor blades tested were based upon the Westland Lynx helicoptor, and the rig as a whole is approximately 800mm long, 660mm wide, and 1570mm tall, with a diameter of 2270mm when the blades are attached.

Before this rig could be used to run experiments, it required installation into Brunel University. This project looked into the operational needs of the rig and from them developed the necessary designs and decisions needed for the installation. This process included the safety considerations involved with the operation of the rig, selection of the rig parts, designing the layout of the rig and safety enclosure, project costing, and computer modeling of the rotor blades.