State and Force Estimation on a Rotating Helicopter Blade through a Kalman-Based Approach

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Jul 28;20(15):4196. doi: 10.3390/s20154196.


The interaction between the rotating blades and the external fluid in non-axial flow conditions is the main source of vibratory loads on the main rotor of helicopters. The knowledge or prediction of the produced aerodynamic loads and of the dynamic behavior of the components could represent an advantage in preventing failures of the entire rotorcraft. Some techniques have been explored in the literature, but in this field of application, high accuracy can be reached if a large amount of sensor data and/or a high-fidelity numerical model is available. This paper applies the Kalman filtering technique to rotor load estimation. The nature of the filter allows the usage of a minimum set of sensors. The compensation of a low-fidelity model is also possible by accounting for sensors and model uncertainties. The efficiency of the filter for state and load estimation on a rotating blade is tested in this contribution, considering two different sources of uncertainties on a coupled multibody-aerodynamic model. Numerical results show an accurate state reconstruction with respect to the selected sensor layout. The aerodynamic loads are accurately evaluated in post-processing.

Keywords: Kalman filter; inverse identification; multibody modeling; state and load estimation.