Aerospace Engineering Seminar Series: Alessandro Cocco

Wednesday, April 5, 2023
4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
2164 Martin Hall, DeWalt Seminar Room/Hybrid
Brent Barbee

SPEAKER: Alessandro Cocco

TITLE: Comprehensive mid-fidelity simulation environment for aeroelastic stability analysis of tiltrotors with pilot-in-the-loop

The goal of the work is to develop a comprehensive open-source tool for the design of tiltrotor aircraft, which are challenging machines to design due to their complex operating conditions and multipurpose missions. The tool aims to capture the various factors that contribute to the stability of tiltrotor aircraft, including the three-dimensional unsteady aerodynamic flow field, structural loads, aeroelastic instabilities, and pilot control inputs, to ensure the design of faster, lighter, and safer tiltrotors. A co-simulation approach that tightly couples the mid-fidelity aerodynamic solver DUST with the multibody dynamics code MBDyn is used. The tool is validated against simple fixed-wing and rotary-wing problems from the open literature and shows great advantages in terms of computational time and accuracy when used to estimate hover performance. A time-marching trim procedure and optimal longitudinal control of the tiltrotor are presented and validated, and a detailed multibody biomechanical model of a generic pilot's upper body is also developed. The pilot’s model includes a spine and arm model that can be adapted to specific subjects based on age, sex, weight, and height, and the entire model is validated using experimental results. The tiltrotor and pilot models are combined into a single comprehensive model that investigates the whirl flutter aeroelastic stability over the entire flight envelope and evaluates the responses to discrete gusts. The results indicate the importance of including an unsteady aerodynamic model in the analysis and show that the coupled multibody-mid-fidelity tool can be used to perform many aeroelastic analyses in the preliminary design phase of innovative rotary-wing configurations, not only in the rotorcraft field but also in other domains, such as wind energy and micro-aerial vehicles.

Alessandro Cocco, born in Italy in 1994, earned an M.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering in 2019, and his Ph.D. with Honors in January 2023 at Politecnico di Milano. He also obtained a piano degree in 2019 at the Milan Conservatory. In March 2023, he joined Umberto Saetti’s research group at the University of Maryland (Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center). During his Ph.D., he participated in the ATTILA Clean Sky project, which aim to develop a wind tunnel testbed to investigate tiltrotor whirl-flutter stability, in the FORMOSA project, in which the goal was to design an innovative control surface for the NextGen civil tiltrotor.  He also participated in the Flapping Wing ESA project, which sought to study the feasibility of a flapping wing vehicle for exploring Mars and Venus. He is an active developer of the open-source aerodynamics code DUST, and his main research topics are tiltrotor whirl flutter, helicopter comprehensive analysis, vortex particle aerodynamics method, and adverse pilot-rotorcraft couplings. He has published 6 journal papers and 18 conference papers and was awarded the second prize for the best student paper at the ASME conference held in St. Louis (MO) in 2022.


Audience: All Students  Graduate  Undergraduate  Faculty  Staff 

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