Aerodynamic shape and structural topology design of helicopter rotor cross-sections using a genetic algorithm

David William Fanjoy, Purdue University


The Genetic Algorithm (GA) is a computational model of natural selection that has useful applications in engineering design problems. Unlike traditional optimization methods, the GA does not require an initial starting point and provides a global search. This makes the GA well-suited to complex problems, such as the design of helicopter rotor blades. Previous efforts demonstrated that a GA can be used for aerodynamic shape design or beam cross-section topology design. The combination of the two concerns has not previously been fully addressed. A multidisciplinary approach combining structural and aerodynamic concerns for optimal topology design of rotor blades provides potential benefit to the rotorcraft design process. This research combines the aerodynamic shape and structural topology into a single problem statement, with the intent of discovering non-traditional rotor blade cross-section forms. The resulting problem is difficult to approach using traditional methods, so a GA is used to generate solutions to the problem. Designs generated with this approach could be further refined to obtain practical designs with improved performance in terms of aerodynamic and/or structural considerations. ^




Major Professor: William A. Crossley, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Engineering, Aerospace

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