Experimental Evaluation of the Critical Flutter Speed on Wings of Different Aspect Ratio


1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, King Saud University, King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia


In this work, wind tunnel experiments were conducted to evaluate the critical flutter speed of wings for three pertinent flight parameters (i) the aspect ratio (AR), (ii) the angle of attack (AoA), and (iii) the aircraft propeller excitation. Six symmetrical wings (NACA0012 design), of fixed chord length of 80 mm and varied AR from 8.75 to 15, were used for this purpose. These wings were mounted horizontally in the wind tunnel as fixed-free condition. The airflow speed is increased slowly until the wing flutters. The results show that the critical flutter speed decreases when the AR increases. For higher AR, the effect of the AoA on the flutter speed is minimal. However, for low AR, the AoA is vital in delaying the flutter instability of the wing. This critical speed spans low to moderate Reynolds numbers based on the wing chord length (Rec =7×104-2×105) which corresponds to the speed range of High Altitude and Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft. In contrast, for a propeller excitation outside the resonance region of the wing, its effect of the on flutter characteristics is not noticeable.