Experimental and computational dynamic structural analysis of free-flight rockets

Document Type : Original Article


Aerospace Engineering Department, Military Technical College, Cairo, Egypt.



Aerospace vehicles’ designers often strive to approach the lightweight structures in order to improve flight performance without compromising vehicles durability. However, this goal may be achieved on the expense of structural rigidity of the vehicle. A missile with high slenderness ratio is a typical vehicle that should be considered as flexible body if precise dynamic behaviour analysis is sought. This analysis is crucial to identify the flight performance of such missile with high accuracy. The present paper discusses the results of a side-by-side experimental and numerical analysis of the vibration characteristics of a full-scale free-flight missile having 70mm caliber. The experimental modal analysis is conducted on the missile with empty motor to represent its unpowered flight regime. Experimental modal analysis setup involved accelerometer sensors while vibration excitation is achieved using an impact hammer. Modal analysis is also conducted numerically using a well-used high-fidelity commercial tool. Results of experimental modal analysis have shown that the first four modes as bending modes with frequencies of 134.4, 400.6, 819.4 and 1173.6 Hz, respectively. The results also demonstrate the close agreement between numerical and experimental approaches.