The TAILTEST program comprises two basic aspects:
- Development of a test rig for the certification of a rotorcraft V-Tail
- Experimental testing of the V-tail building blocks, from coupon level to panel level
All stages of the investigation involve correlation of experimental results to detailed numerical FE models that further contribute to the establishment of the structural integrity of the V-tail and the careful selection of materials and components.
The results of the tests performed using the multipurpose test rig will have triple use:
- Support the certification process of the innovative fin, (testing of the innovative fin)
- Validation of the fin global FE model, and
- Contribute to the investigation of the stiffness and strength of novel joining technologies (testing of novel hybrid joining concepts).
A key characteristic required by the test rig design is that variable stiffness is needed, such that the actual behaviour of the fuselage at which the fin will be attached will be properly emulated. The preparation of the test rig will provide the opportunity for structural tests at sub-scale level, by incorporating the minimum amount of modifications at the test rig design. In this way, the multipurpose test rig will be exploited to the sub-scale level testing, too. Results of the tests at sub-component level, e.g. fin spar to skin hybrid joints, will facilitate the validation of advanced numerical models, which will be developed for predicting the debonding at the hybrid joint. These numerical models will be applied in the simulation of static and fatigue crack growth (debonding) of bonded composite joints. The model’s input parameters will be obtained from experimental tests on coupon level.