Previous studies have shown that chord extension morphing over a spanwise section of helicopter rotor blades can reduce main rotor power requirement in stall-dominant flight conditions while at the same time being able to increase the maximum gross weight, altitude, and flight speed capability of the aircraft. This study examines a centrifugally driven, fully passive chord morphing mechanism for helicopter rotor blades. It is based on a von-Mises truss situated aft of the leading-edge spar, connected to a rigid extension plate which deploys through a slit in the trailing-edge. When the rotor RPM increases beyond a critical value the chordwise component of centrifugal (CF) force on the von-Mises truss and plate assembly results in the deployment of the plate beyond the slit in the trailing edge, effectively increasing chord length. On reducing the RPM, a retraction spring pulls the plate back within the confines of the blade. This study presents the design process, iterations and the final design solution for a configuration that undergoes 20% chord extension. A prototype was fabricated and tested on the bench-top as well as on a rotor test stand at rotational speeds simulating 70% full-scale CF loads. The test results demonstrate that the concept works. However, effects such as friction lead to higher force (or RPM) requirements for deployment than predicted by simulation, and are present during retraction as well. The effects are more pronounced in the high CF field in the rotor test.

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