Control of Chaotic Flutter in a Wind Turbine Airfoil

About this project

Project description

Flutter is an aeroelastic vibration phenomenon of an elastic structure in a fluid that results from an unstable interaction between the fluid and structural dynamics. Flutter vibrations occur typically above a lower critical rotor and wind speed and grow to an amplitude determined by the nonlinearities in the aerodynamics and/or structural dynamics. Flutter remains one of the most important issues for aircraft and structural engineering industries, motivating careful design to avoid fatigue failures such as in wind turbine blades. Presently, this is a critical problem to solve as the world’s use of wind energy exponentially grows to avoid excessive impacts of climate change.

It may be seen from the literature that flutter is an unstable behaviour caused primarily by the elastic coupling of the degrees of freedom of the aerofoil. Under certain situations, primarily the negative cross-coupling of the elastic or stiffness matrix degrades the dissipative effect, thereby puts in energy into the system instead. Therefore, on one hand, (a) the use of efficient energy dissipation mechanisms like the use of suitable viscoelastic semisolids, and on the other hand (b) controlling the weight or influence of the cross-coupled stiffness elements should hold good promise to eliminate both flutter and the resulting chaotic behaviour.

Thus, understanding of the occurrence of flutter and chaos is central to developing techniques to avoid it. In this process, along with development and verification of a method of control of the occurrence of chaotic flutter in a wind turbine blade section, this project also aims to work out suitable passive as well as active means to control, or optimistically, eliminate flutter and its chaotic behaviour.

This will contribute to new knowledge in nonlinear dynamics and control while enabling wind engineers to minimize fatigue damage and noise while maximizing energy efficiency and the lifetime of wind turbines.


Good mathematical background, Working knowledge of MATLAB and associated software

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Good mathematical background, Working knowledge of MATLAB and associated software

Desireable capabilities

Knowledge on Nonlinear dynamics, control, structural dynamics and CFD

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.) or equivalent degree in Mechanical (Preferable)/Aerospace Engineering, or equivalent degree in Mechanical(Preferable)/Aerospace Engineering

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Professor Paul Meehan

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering
IITD Supervisor

Professor Jayanta Kumar Dutt

Department of Mechanical Engineering