A paper in the SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems uses nonlinear models to study the dynamics of aircraft landing gear. Both unwanted oscillations of landing gear and the wheel-ground interaction that occurs during takeoff and landing are fundamentally nonlinear.
Mathematical models afforded study authors Chris Howcroft, Bernd Krauskopf, Mark Lowenberg, and Simon Neild a cost-effective way to investigate the types of oscillations likely to occur as factors like aircraft velocity and loading vary. The team was also able to study the effect of different landing gear geometries.
Not that the research will stop there. Says Howcroft:
Future directions of this research will focus on the incorporation and assessment of additional nonlinear effects. For example, mechanical joints loosen over the lifespan of an aircraft landing gear, and this may have a dramatic effect on dynamic performance, service life and maintenance requirements of the landing gear.
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