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Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Crash Behavior of Composite Helicopter Cruciform Elements

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This paper describes an experimental and numerical investigation on the energy absorbing capabilities of composite intersection elements for helicopter subfloor. The crash tests were performed using a drop test machine and a finite element model was developed using LS‐DYNA. To calibrate the numerical model, coupon testing and tube crushing experiments were performed. The obtained results showed that the composite subfloor components possessed a good capacity of energy absorption. The simulation accurately predicted the average load and the specific absorbed energy, as well as the failure mode, but exhibited an initial peak load more marked than the one obtained in the crash tests. Thus, this investigation can help to build confidence in the future use of non‐linear dynamic finite element codes for the design of composite primary structures subjected to crash loading.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Milano, Via La Masa 34, 20156 Milano, Italy

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • The Journal of the American Helicopter Society is the world's only scientific journal dedicated to vertical flight technology. It is a peer-reviewed technical journal published quarterly by AHS International and presents innovative papers covering the state-of-the-art in all disciplines of rotorcraft design, research and development. (Please note that AHS members receive significant discounts on articles and subscriptions.)

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