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Converting Helicopter Rotor Blades From D-Spar to C-Spar: Allowing for Aeromorphing Structures

[+] Author Affiliations
Nathan S. Hosking, Zahra Sotoudeh

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

Paper No. IMECE2014-36966, pp. V001T01A021; 3 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 1: Advances in Aerospace Technology
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4642-1
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Modern helicopter blades are designed as thin-walled hollow structures in form of either C-spar or D-spar cross-sections. With the advent of new materials hollow designs have been implemented to reduce the overall weight of the structure. A D-spar is a rotor blade cross-section that is hollow in nature with a single vertical spar used to carry a large portion of the stresses otherwise carried by the skin [1]. The vertical spar is normally located between the leading edge and half of the chord length. The remaining volume aft of the vertical spar can either be hollow or filled with a honeycomb structure. The honeycomb structure increases the cross-sectional stiffness. Figure 1. shows an example of a common D-spar with a honeycomb structure aft of the vertical spar [2]. Due to new manufacturing methods the D-spar has now become common place in helicopter design [3]. A C-spar cross-section is very similar to the D-spar cross-section in design and construction. The C-spar cross-section does not have the honeycomb structure and the spar. The structural load is offset by more lamina layers towards the leading edge of the cross-section [4,5]. The thin-walled structure is comprised of many layers of composite materials such as fiberglass or carbon fibers. There has been extensive research into D-spar cross-section while there is a lack of studies for C-spar cross-sections [1,3,4].

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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