Power harvesting in a helicopter lag damper

Pieter de Jong, Richard Loendersloot, Andries de Boer, Peter van der Hoogt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper a new power harvesting application is developed and simulated. Power harvesting is chosen within the European Clean Sky project as a solution to powering in-blade health monitoring systems as opposed to installing an elaborate electrical infrastructure to draw power from and transmit signals to the helicopter body. Local generation of power will allow for a ‘plug and play’ rotor blade and signals may be logged or transmitted wirelessly. The lag damper is chosen to be modified as it provides a well defined loading due to the re-gressive damping characteristic. A piezo electric stack is installed inside the damper rod, effec-tively coupled in series with the damper. Due to the well defined peak force generated in the damper the stack geometry requires a very limited margin of safety. Typically the stack geometry must be chosen to prevent excessive voltage build-up as opposed to mechanical overload. Development and simulation of the model is described starting with a simplified blade and piezo element model. Presuming specific flight conditions transient simulations are conducted using various power harvesting circuits and their performance is evaluated. The best performing circuit is further optimized to increase the specific power output. Optimization of the electrical and mechanical domains must be done simultaneously due to the high electro-mechanical cou-pling of the piezo stack. The non-linear electrical properties of the piezo material, most notably the capacitance which may have a large influence, are not yet considered in this study. The power harvesting lag damper provides sufficient power for extensive health monitoring systems within the blade while retaining the functionality and safety of the standard component. For the 8.15m blade radius and 130 knots flight speed under consideration simulations show 7.5 watts of power is generated from a single damper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication5th ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Smart Structures and Materials SMART'11
EditorsC Boller, H Janocha
Place of PublicationSaarbrucken
PublisherUniversity of Saarland
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2011
Event5th ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Smart Structures and Materials, SMART 2011 - Saarland University Campus, Saarbrucken, Germany
Duration: 6 Jul 20118 Jul 2011
Conference number: 5


Conference5th ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on Smart Structures and Materials, SMART 2011
Abbreviated titleSMART


  • IR-77688
  • METIS-275252
  • Onderzoek van algemene industriele aardMechanical engineering and technology


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