Prof. Carlo L. Bottasso

Department of Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

June 27, 2012, 11:00, Room CM5 (click here for the map)

Rotary Wings: the Modeling and Simulation of Helicopters and Wind Turbines

Helicopters and wind turbines are very different complex engineering systems, that however share some common physical processes. For both, rotating flexible blades interact in a highly unsteady manner with air to make a vehicle fly in one case and to generate energy from wind in the other. In this talk we will first review some mathematical models that are used for the simulation of both systems. Then, we will describe some challenging applications, ranging from the simulation of helicopters flying extreme maneuvers at the boundaries of their flight envelope, to the passive and active mitigation of loads on large wind turbines. These examples will help highlight the differences between these two engineering systems and will illustrate their very different design drivers. In both cases, the ability to model the relevant coupled physical processes to a high level of fidelity is key for achieving the ever more ambitious design goals posed by industry.


Carlo L. Bottasso is a Professor of flight mechanics at the Department of Aerospace Engineering of the Politecnico di Milano in Milano, Italy, where he directs the Poli-Rotorcraft and Poli-Wind research labs. Dr. Bottasso earned a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano in 1993, and did postdoctoral work at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the USA, before returning to the Politecnico in 1996. In 2003-2005 was on the faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and he has held visiting positions at numerous institutions, including Aalborg University in Denmark, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, NASA Langley and others. His research interests are in multibody dynamics, aero-servo-elasticity and control. Specific interests are in flexible multibody dynamics with application to the modeling of rotary wing vehicles and wind turbines, and corollary modeling and numerical technologies, including system identification, model reduction, methods for the solution of algebraic-differential equations, non-linear finite elements, adaptive and optimal control. On these topics he has co-authored over 250 publications, including 90 peer review journal papers.