Elastomeric materials have found increasing use in many vehicles, from cars and trucks to helicopters. In helicopters, the need to stabilize the very lightly damped lead-lag motions of rotor blades has necessitated the use of external dampers. Older helicopters use hydraulic dampers, which provide high levels of damping but are also associated with high maintenance costs due to the presence of seals, lubricants and numerous moving parts, all operating in a rotating frame. The motivation to reduce maintenance costs prompted the industry to switch to elastomeric lead-lag dampers that feature simpler mechanical design, lower part count, and result in “dry” rotors. This discussion clearly indicates the need for more accurate, first principle based models of elastomeric dampers. The first objective of this paper is to develop a finite element based tool for modeling the response of complex components made of elastomeric materials. Next, this tool will be integrated with a finite element based, multibody dynamics analysis code to accurately simulate the dynamic response of vehicles using elastomeric components, such as cars, trucks or rotorcraft.

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