The aeroelastic stability of rectangular plates are well-documented in literature for certain sets of boundary conditions. Specifically, wing flutter, panel flutter, and divergence of a plate that is clamped on all sides are well-understood. However, the ongoing push for lighter structures and novel designs have led to a need to understand the aeroelastic behavior of elastic plates for other boundary conditions. One example is NASA’s continuous mold-line link project for reducing the noise generated by commercial transport aircraft during landing; in order to reduce the noise generated by vortex shedding from the trailing edge flap during landing, the project proposes to connect the gap between the trailing edge flap and the rest of the wing with a flexible plate. This paper summarizes the aeroelastic theory, numerical results, and experimental results of a study on the flutter and/or divergence mechanisms of a rectangular plate for different sets of structural boundary conditions. The theory combines a three-dimensional vortex lattice aerodynamic model with a plate structural model to create a high-fidelity frequency domain aeroelastic model. A modular experimental test bed is designed for this study in order to test the different boundary conditions. The test bed is also designed to test different plate thicknesses and sizes with only a small number of modifications. The well-understood boundary conditions are used as test cases to validate the analysis results, and then results of additional configurations that have not been extensively explored are presented. The results of this paper can be used to support the design efforts of projects involving plates or plate-membranes. In addition, the paper adds to the fundamental understanding of plate aeroelasticity and provides a wealth of experimental data for comparison and future validation.

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