Rotor Test Rig MERIT

Munich Experimental Rotor Investigation Testbed - MERIT - is a main rotor test bench designed for universal rotor and propeller aerodynamic and structural dynamic investigations. Its robust and compact design allows for highly dynamic load applications, such as fast forward flight conditions. It is designed for use in TUM´s Windtunnel A at the Chair of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics. 

Measuring data:

  • Integral rotor forces and moments
  • Rotor torque and speed
  • Blade root moments
  • Blade pitch angles
  • Push rod forces
  • Rotating blade deformation with Digital Image Correlation (DIC)

More information on design and application.


Integration and operation of strain gage based push rod load cells (08-2022)

Dynamic stall campaign at 900, 1200, 1500 RPM (08-2022)

First dynamic stall campaign at 900 RPM (12-2021)

DIC tests at 900 and 1800 rpm and up to 12° collective pitch (09-2021)

With the great support of Gunter Sanow and Daniel Maraite of the GOM GmbH we successfully performed Digital Image Correlation (DIC) tests with the ARAMIS SRX sensor at a maximum frame rate of 1000Hz to retrieve the MERIT blade´s deformation rotating with 1800rpm. 

Thanks a lot for your assistance and technical contributions! 

For more information, contact Verena Heuschneider, M.Sc.

MERIT rotor test at 900 rpm nominal speed and up to 8° collective pitch (05-2021)

AREA rotor test at 680 rpm nominal speed and up to 4° collective pitch (02-2021)

First MERIT blades manufactured (10-2020)

As a baseline rotor for dynamic stall experiments, the blades have no twist, a rectangular planform, naca0012 airfoil, 130mm chord and a radius of 900mm.  
The structure consists of a carbon c-spar with lead balance weight and a bearing laminate with two bolts at the attachment. An integrated connector will provide the necessary interface for possible metrology such as strain gauges or pressure transduces.

We have used SONATA, VABS and ANBA4 for the predesign of the sectional properties. The first static structural tests were recently performed with the goal to verify the predicted beam properties experimentally with Digital Image Correlation (DIC)

Without the large assistance of Daniel Maraite of GOM, who supported us with an ARAMIS SRX sensor, and the continuous support of VABS from Analyswift this work would not have been possible.

We would also like to thank the TUM Laboratory for Product Development and Lightweight Design, the TUM Chair of Carbon Composites and the TUM Workshop of the Physics Department for their generous support!

Low speed operation with actuators, swashplate and rotor head in safety containment (01-2020)

Successful Assembly of Swashplate Components (04-2019)

Successful Assembly of Rotor Drive Train (03-2019)


Verena Heuschneider, M.Sc. (Test rig design, instrumentation, data acquisition, tensile strength tests, dynamic stall campaign)

Tobias Pflumm, M.Sc. (Rotor blade composite design and manufacturing)

Florian Berghammer, M.Sc. (FBG sensor integration and rotating blade deformation tests)