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Recent developments at the numerical simulation of landing gear dynamics

Abstract

Aircraft landing gears support the aircraft during ground operations, including take-off, landing impact, taxiing, gate handling and maintenance. Mostly for reasons of minimum mass and ground clearance, landing gears are slender structures which exhibit a considerable dynamic response to ground load excitations. As the landing gear is one of the few systems on the aircraft without redundancies, the knowledge of landing gear dynamics is crucial for aircraft design and aircraft safety. Simulation of landing gear dynamics is a cornerstone of aircraft loads analysis, as well for vertical loads resulting from touch-down as for longitudinal and lateral loads resulting from braking, steering and towing. Another important field of interest is landing gear vibrations like gear walk and shimmy. Those phenomena can be brake induced or result from tire spin-up at touch-down or simply from a coupling of dynamics of the running tire and structural mechanics of the landing gear leg. All those effects strongly depend on a number of parameters such as aircraft speed, landing gear vertical deflection, tire pressure and wear of the parts. Many of those parameters can only be estimated and might change during the operation of the aircraft. Numerical investigation is thus a challenging task. Analysis methods exist both in the frequency domain and in the time domain. As stability analysis is straight forward in frequency domain methods, this approach is still often used. However, in many cases nonlinearities are dominant which lead to limit-cycle characteristics of the vibrations. Here, multibody modelling or a mixture of multibody and finite element modelling including time domain simulation is used. In the article, a general outline is given of how vibration problems in landing gears can be treated by numerical analysis methods. The article will start with a classification of typical problems, give a short overview of classical papers, and explain typical approaches. In addition, alternative approaches for stability analysis and for the detection of limit-cycle oscillations as well as state-of-the-art modelling approaches will be presented.

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Acknowledgments

All examples used in the paper originate from the work performed at the DLR Institute of Aeroelasticity in Göttingen and the former Department of Vehicle System Dynamics of DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, as well as at the Department of Aerospace Engineering of the Politecnico Di Milano, Italy. The article is based on a contribution of the authors to the RTO-AVT Symposium on Limit Cycle Oscillation and Other Amplitude-Limited Self Excited Vibrations in Loen, Norway [57]. The authors would like to acknowledge the work of G. Somieski, who set up the theoretical background and software for quasi-linear analysis of landing gear dynamics, Sect. 2, and the work of P. Khapane, who modelled and analyzed the dynamics of brake-gear interaction. Figure 1 originates from the unpublished Master’s Thesis of L. Lernbeiss. The work presented in Sect. 4.2 was performed with the help of S. Gualdi and G.L. Ghiringhelli.

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Krüger, W.R., Morandini, M. Recent developments at the numerical simulation of landing gear dynamics. CEAS Aeronaut J 1, 55–68 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13272-011-0003-y

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Keywords

  • Landing gear dynamics
  • Multibody simulation
  • Shimmy
  • Brake-gear-interaction
  • Tire models