Power harvesting in a helicopter rotor using a piezo stack in the lag damper

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

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A piezoelectrically augmented helicopter lag damper has been simulated for the purpose of harvesting electrical energy within the rotor of the aircraft. This energy can then be consumed locally for sensing, processing and transmission of data to the cockpit. An 8.15m radius rotor is considered and in-plane rigid lagging motion forms the prime excitation of the damper. The piezoelectric stack is installed within the rod of the damper in such a manner that the stack is submitted to all damper loads. MATLAB and Simulink are used to simulate a simplified blade model. A number of electrical harvesting circuits are investigated and the piezo stack is optimized for each circuit. Also the effect of nonlinear capacitance of the piezo material is investigated revealing a profound effect. Important design parameters are identified and optimized resulting in a power output of 5.1W for a steady 130 knots forward flight profile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1392-1404
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of intelligent material systems and structures
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2012


  • IR-81328
  • METIS-280914


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