Flight Motion of a Continuously Elastic Finned Missile

Report No. ARL-TR-2754
Authors: Charles H. Murphy and William H. Mermagen
Date/Pages: June 2002; 53 pages
Abstract: The motion of elastic finned projectiles has been analyzed by various approximate theories. In this report the exact equations of small amplitude motion are derived for a symmetric missile. The aerodynamic and elastic symmetries are used to allow the use of complex variables to describe the lateral motion in a non-rotating coordinate system. Although the resulting equations are both ordinary and partial differential equations, frequencies and damping rates of free oscillations are obtained from an ordinary differential equation with boundary conditions. Equations for a permanently deformed bent missile are derived, and an ordinary differential equation for the forced motion of a bent missile is obtained. Sample calculations for a finned projectile with a fineness ratio of 20 show resonant motion at the aerodynamic frequency as well as at each elastic frequency. The nonlinear roll moment associated with a bent missile is computed and the location of possible spin-yaw lock-in is determined. The flight motion of an elastic missile is shown to be the sum of two elliptical motions: a low frequency pitching motion and a higher frequency flexing motion. The induced drag coefficients for both motions are computed as functions of the missile's elasticity.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2002