Date of Award

Winter 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Engineering Mechanics

Committee Director

Chuh Mei

Committee Member

Osama Kandil

Committee Member

Brett A. Newman

Committee Member

Jen-Kuang Huang


In the extensive published literature on panel flutter, a large number of papers are dedicated to investigation of flat plates in the supersonic flow regime. Very few authors have extended their work to flutter of curved panels. The curved geometry generates a pre-flutter behavior, triggering a static deflection due to a static aerodynamic load (SAL) over the panel as well as dynamic characteristics unique to this geometry. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide new insights in the subject of flutter of curved panels. Finite element frequency and time domain methods are developed to predict the pre/post flutter responses and the flutter onset of curved panels under a yaw flow angle. The first-order shear deformation theory, the Marguerre plate theory, the von Karman large deflection theory, and the quasi-steady first-order piston theory appended with SAL are used in the formulation. The principle of virtual work is applied to develop the equations of motion of the fluttering system in structural node degrees of freedom. In the frequency domain method, the Newton-Raphson method is used to determine the panel static deflection under the SAL, and an eigen-value solution is employed for the determination of the stability boundary margins at different panel height-rises and yaw flow angles. Pre-flutter static deflection shape, flutter coalescence frequency, and damping rate of various cylindrical panels are thoroughly investigated. The main results revealed that the pre-flutter static response of cylindrical panels is fundamentally different from the one associated with flat plates. It is shown that curvature has a detrimental effect for 2-dimensional (2-D) curved panels, and is beneficial for 3-D components at an optimum height-rise. In the time domain method, the system equations of motion are transformed into modal coordinates, and solved by a fourth-order Runge-Kutta numerical scheme. Time history responses, phase plots, power spectrum density plots, and bifurcation diagrams uncovered the pre/post flutter responses of cylindrical panels. The computed stability boundary margins and onset frequencies matched very well with the ones computed by the frequency domain method. Bifurcation diagrams revealed limit-cycles oscillations (LCO) and chaotic motion. It was found that 2-D cylindrical panels settle in a multiplicity of LCO as the height-rise of the panel increases, whereas chaotic motion characterize the dynamic behavior of 3-D cylindrical panels at high height-rises.