Robust Modal Filtering In Flexible Aircraft and Other Structures

Robust Modal Filtering In Flexible Aircraft and Other Structures (DRC-TOPS-11)
For Real-Time Control and Performance Optimization
Innovators at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center are developing a collection of algorithms that can accurately determine the structural state of an aircraft. This work is in response to new airframe designs that save weight—and thereby improve fuel efficiency—by removing stiffness in the wings and incorporating lighter materials, such as composites.

The Technology
These lighter and more flexible aircraft tend to be subject to increased aeroelastic phenomena, leading to higher wing loads and gust responses. Divergence, flutter, and other instability can also appear that, if uncontrolled, can lead to catastrophic wing failure. Avoidance of flutter through such methods as notch filtering must be replaced with active control if flutter exists inside the controller bandwidth. Therefore, Armstrong's algorithms are being developed as one component that may lead to practical active flutter suppression as well as load control. Having a modal filtering system that senses the total state of the aircraft's structure can enable active and timely intervention for control and performance optimization. Armstrong has conducted simulations of this technology using computer models with positive results, and flight validation efforts are forthcoming.
NASA's Helios Prototype This technology is applicable to aircraft of all types.
  • Fast: Analyzes data quickly, providing real-time operations
  • Versatile: Can be used with either photogrammetry or fiber optic sensors
  • Robust and fault tolerant: Is insensitive to asymmetric sensor noise and sensor failures
  • Highly accurate: Collects a large number of data points via distributed sensors, analyzing the entire aircraft structure—not just specific areas
  • Small: Contains a compact controller package

  • Aircraft
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
Technology Details

Stay up to date, follow NASA's Technology Transfer Program on:
facebook twitter linkedin youtube
Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Linkedin Logo Youtube Logo