A Detailed Physical Explanation of an Aircraft Flutter Mechanism

Luiz Felipi Ribeiro Siqueira

Federal University of Itajubá – UNIFEI (Av. BPS, 1303, Itajubá, MG), Brasil.

Marcelo Santiago de Sousa *

Federal University of Itajubá – UNIFEI (Av. BPS, 1303, Itajubá, MG), Brasil.

Flávio Luiz Cardoso-Ribeiro

Technological Institute of Aeronautics - ITA, (Praça Marechal do Ar, 50, São José dos Campos, SP), Brasil.

Sebastião Simões da Cunha Junior

Federal University of Itajubá – UNIFEI (Av. BPS, 1303, Itajubá, MG), Brasil.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Each dynamic mode (aeroelastic) is made up of torsional and rotational movements. These two movements in each mode were dissociated and the phase, amplitude, damping and frequency of each of these movements were analyzed.  The structural resistances of torsion and bending, as well as the bending movement itself, have a damping effect and torsion has a destabilizing effect on the oscillations (if the centre of pressure is ahead of the flexural axis). After a certain speed, bending becomes out of phase with the applied forces. At this point, the bending has an amplifying effect on the oscillations and only the structural stiffness dampens the movement. From the speed at which the bending movement is out of phase with the applied aerodynamic loads, the damping of the mode decreases with speed, until flutter occurs. The type of analysis presented here was only possible due to the dissociation of torsion and bending movements in each mode. This is a novelty of this article. And this dissociation was made possible due to the use of the strain-based formulation, also called here as methodology NFNS_s (Non Linear Flight Dynamics – Non Linear Structural Dynamics – strain based formulation). The use of this methodology for this type of analysis was another contribution.  The article presents the proposal of a new way of analyzing the aeroelastic stability of aircraft.

Keywords: Aeroelasticity, strain based formulation, flexible airplane, flutter mechanism

How to Cite

Siqueira , L. F. R., Sousa, M. S. de, Cardoso-Ribeiro, F. L., & Junior, S. S. da C. (2024). A Detailed Physical Explanation of an Aircraft Flutter Mechanism. Archives of Current Research International, 24(5), 191–212. https://doi.org/10.9734/acri/2024/v24i5696


Download data is not yet available.


Wright JR, Cooper JE. Introduction to aircraft aeroelasticity and loads. Chichester, Inglaterra, John Wiley and Sons Ltd. 2007;550.

Hodges DH, Pierce GA. Introduction to Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity. 2ª Ed., New York, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cambridge University Press. 2011;247.

Garrick IE. Reed III WH. Historical development of aircraft flutter. Journal of Aircraft. 1981;18(11):897–912 DOI: 10.2514/3.57579

Cesnik C. Aeroelasticity of very flexible aircraft: Prof. Dewey Hodges. Three-decade Contributions to the Field - AIAA 2023-0585; 2023 Available:https://doi.org/10.2514/6.2023-0585>. Acessed on April, 15th, 2024

Palacios R, Cesnik CES. Dynamics of flexible aircraft: Coupled flight mechanics, aeroelasticity, and conrtrol (Cambridge Aerospace Series, Series Number 52) 1st Edition; 2023.

Chandrakar P, Sharma N, Maiti DK. Stochastic buckling response of variable fiber spacing composite plate under thermal environment. Journal of Composite Materials. 2023;57(24).

Chandrakar P, Sharma N, Maiti DK. Damage-induced buckling characteristics of thermally loaded variable angle tow laminated plates under uncertain environment. European Journal of Mechanics - A/Solids. 2024;103:105188. Doc846, W.D. E195. Available:https://doc8643.com/aircraft/E195>. Acessed on April 15th, 2024.

Nishad M, Sharma N, Sunny MR, Singh BN, Maiti DK. Stochastic critical buckling speed analysis of rim-driven rotating composite plate using NURBS-based isogeometric approach and HSDT. Mechanics Based Design of Structures and Machines; 2023.

Sharma N, Swain PK, Maiti DK, Singh BN. Stochastic frequency analysis of laminated composite plate with curvilinear fiber composite plate with curvilinear fiber. Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures. 2022a;29(6).

Sharma N, Swain PK, Maiti DK, Singh BN. Static and free vibration analyses and dynamic control of smart variable stiffness laminated composite plate with delamination. Composite Structures. 2022b;280(15).

Sharma N, Swain PK, Maiti DK. Active flutter suppression of damaged variable stiffness laminated composite rectangular plate with piezoelectric patches. Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures. 2022c;31(6).

Sharma N, Swain PK, Maiti DK. Aeroelastic control of delaminated variable angle tow laminated composite plate using piezoelectric patches. Journal of Composite Materials. 2022d;56(29).

Bisplinghoff RL, Ashley H. Principles of Aeroelasticity. Dover Publications, New York. 1975;527.

Biot MA, Arnold L. Low-speed flutter and its physical interpretation. Journal of Aeronautical Science. 1948;232- 236.

Rheinfurth M, Swift F. A new approach to the explanation of the flutter mechanism. Symposium on Structural Dynamics and Aeroelasticity; 1965. DOI: 10.2514/6.1965-1101

Patil M. From fluttering wings to flapping flight- The energy connection. In 42nd AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference and Exhibit, Proceedings of AIAA Journal, Seattle, WA. 2001;10 DOI: 10.2514/6.2001-1460

Brown EL. Integrated strain actuation in aircraft with highly flexible composite wings. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA; 2003.

Shearer C. Coupled nonlinear and flight dynamics, aeroelasticity and control of very flexible aircraft. Dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; 2006.

Ribeiro FLC. Dinâmica de vôo de aviões muito flexíveis. Master’s Degree Thesis, Technological Institute of Aeronautics, São José dos Campos, Brazil; 2011.

AEROSPACEWEB, Wing twist and dihedral; 2000 Available:https://aerospaceweb.org/question/dynamics/q0055.shtml> . Acessed on April, 9th, 2024.

Sofla AYN, Meguid SA, Tan KT, Yeo WK. Shape morphing of aircraft wing: status and challenges. Materials and Design. 2010;31(3):1284-1292.

Siqueira LFR. Mode tracking and intramodal aeroelasticity analysis of a highly flexible aircraft with the use of eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Master´s Thesis, Federal University of Itajubá (UNIFEI), Brazil; 2019.

Siqueira LFR, Sousa MS, Junior SSC. Flutter analysis tools in a nonlinear structural-flight dynamics numerical platform. 25th ABCM International Congress of Mechanical Engineering (COBEM-2019), Uberlândia, MG, Brazil. 2019;1-8.

Sousa MS, Paglione P, Da Silva RGA, Ribeiro FLC, Cunha Júnior SS. Mathematical model of one flexible transport category aircraft. Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology. 2017;89(3):384-396.

DOI: 10.1108/AEAT-12-2013-0230

Sharma N, Swain PK, Maiti DK. Uncertainty quantification in free vibration and aeroelastic response of variable angle tow laminated composite plate. Journal of Composite Materials. 2023;57(17).

Su W, Cesnik CES. Strain-based geometrically nonlinear beam formulation for modeling very flexible aircraft. International Journal of Solids and Structures. 2011; 48(16-17): 2349-2360.

Quora, What's the airliner with the largest wing flex?; 2016 Available:https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-airliner-with-the-largest-wing-flex>. Accessed on April, 12th, 2024

Kakkavas C. Computational investigation of subsonic torsional airfoil flutter. Dissertation, Naval Postgraduate School, California; 1998.

Inman DJ. Engineering Vibrations. 4ª Ed., Pearson, New Jersey. 2014;8-10.

Sharma N, Nishad M, Maiti DK, Sunny MR, Singh BN. Uncertainty quantification in buckling strength of variable stiffness laminated composite plate under thermal loading. Composite Structures. 2021a; 275(1):114486.

Sharma N, Swain PK, Maiti DK, Singh BN. Stochastic aeroelastic analysis of laminated composite plate with variable fiber spacing. Journal of Composite Materials. 2021b;55(30).