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Edmundo Corona Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556 firstname.lastname@example.org August 9, 2006
1 Introduction 1.1 Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Elements of Aerospace Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 Work of the Aerospace Structural Engineer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 A Brief History 2.1 Early Aircraft: The Reign of the Wooden Biplane 2.2 The Establishment of the Cantilever Wing . . . . 2.2.1 Wood design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.2 Metal aircraft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.3 Pressurized Cabins . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.4 Composite Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3 High Performance Aircraft . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 5 5 8 9 9 15 15 16 17 18 18 19 23 23 24 27 27 29 30 33 34 34 34 35 35 37 37 37
3 Materials 3.1 Criteria for Material Choice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 Typical Aerospace Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Structural Nomenclature 4.1 Wing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2 Fuselage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3 Empennage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Structural Design Deﬁnitions 5.1 Load Factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.2 Limit Loads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.3 Ultimate Load . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Fracture 6.1 Fatigue Design Criteria . . . . . 6.1.1 Safe-Life Design . . . . . 6.1.2 Fail-Safe Design . . . . . 6.1.3 Choice Between Safe-Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and Fail-Sage 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4 6.2 Fracture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.2.1 Stress concentration . . . . . 6.2.2 When will a crack propagate? 6.2.3 Stress Intensity Factor . . . . 6.2.4 Fracture Criterion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
CONTENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 38 40 40 40
actually build the airplane. The most important keyword is airworthiness or structural integrity.). you may want to consider taking AME 50541. in other words. This 5 . Although most of the work in the ﬁeld is now conducted using sophisticated computational tools. rocket.Chapter 1 Introduction 1. these will not be used in this course (if you are interested in computational methods in structures. Finite Elements.1 Objectives The objectives of the course are: • Present an overall. Topics include: – Historical perspectives and case studies – Load analysis – Materials – Structural concepts – Aeroelasticity – Behavior of thin-walled beams – Fatigue – Buckling – Applications of simple mechanics in relevant examples • Present simple structural theories that yield solutions amenable to hand calculations or simple computational procedures. etc. as one of your technical electives). introductory view of the subject of aerospace structures and lightweight structures. 1.2 Elements of Aerospace Structures Aerospace structures is a multi-disciplinary ﬁeld whose objective is to produce structures that meet all the requirements of a ﬂying vehicle (or.
etc. presumably to cover the higher operating expense. the most appropriate one for the application at hand should be chosen. This process will likely involve iterations.6 CHAPTER 1. The second keyword. Figure 1. Load analysis refers to the calculation of such loads based on the mission requirements of the aircraft. In summary. As an example. By judicious considerations of loads. Had it not. the type and magnitude of the loads that need to be supported have to be established. Mechanics: Structures need to be designed according to sound mechanics principles to ensure safety and optimum performance. Constraints: This list includes constraints that are dictated by practical and economic issues. Many materials are available to the structural designer. the objective of aerospace structural engineers is to produce the lightest airworthy vehicle. Careful research and analysis needs to be carried out in order to make the best choices. Materials: Every component of an aircraft needs to be made using some material. which is perhaps more of a constraint. The elements shown are: Load Analysis: Prior to designing a structure. Boeing would have had to pay the airline that placed the ﬁrst order (United) a certain number of Dollars per pound of overweight. INTRODUCTION means that the structure will not fail or be damaged under the mission requirements of the aircraft. is lightweight. but intended to present a rough idea of the variety of issues that are considered in aerospace structural design and of the knowledge needed to address them. Physical Factors: These are factors having to do with the physical response of the structure to loads. . and using the tools of mechanics. materials.1 shows various elements that are part of aerospace structures and a few examples in each category. Construction: Several types of construction have been developed for light-weight structural applications. although the impact is less dramatic). the goal of designing an optimal aircraft structure that meets reasonable design objectives can be achieved. Excess weight can result in big penalties in the performance and fuel consumption of aerospace vehicles (as well as land-based ones. Mechanics provides the tools needed to conduct load and structural analysis. They inﬂuence the form and material choice of each structural member and of the structure as a whole. The ﬁgure is not exhaustive. In another example . symbolized by the circular arrow in the ﬁgure. once the ﬁrst prototype had been ﬁnished. it was shown in a PBS program on the development of the Boeing 777 that. the aircraft was actually weighted to see if the design weight objective had been achieved. one pound of unnecessary structural weight in a long-range missile may add more than 200 lbs. to the weight of the missile.
Low weight .Ease of manufacture .Plywood .Statics . ELEMENTS OF AEROSPACE STRUCTURES 7 It ti era on s D i es gn Load Analysis .Aerodynamics Constraints .Built-up .Fit with aircraft requirements AEROSPACE STRUCTURAL DESIGN Physical Factors .Stability .Weight .Composites Mechanics .Ground loads .Fatigue .1: Various disciplines that support aerospace structural design.Co-cured Optimum aircraft structure that meets the design objectives Figure 1.Integrally machined .Corrosion Construction .Sandwich construction .2.1.Aeroelasticity .Metals .Vibrations .Dynamics .Maneuver loads .Low cost .Mechanics of solids . .Landing loads Materials .Wood .Strength .
etc. inertia forces. In order to produce a safe structure that is optimal. the loads that need to be carried must be determined. including aeroelastic phenomena such as ﬂutter. control surface actuators. into new structural concepts. Dynamic phenomena must be studied to determine its eﬀects on the structure and how the structure should be modiﬁed to diminish these eﬀects. Structural dynamics: This subject involves the investigation of the response of the structure to vibration and shock. the work of the structures group in an aerospace organization involves : Applied load estimation: It is obvious that before sizing a structure. . armament. etc. Research: Progress in aerospace structures depends on continued research into analytical and experimental tools that may improve the accuracy of calculations. Their main responsibility is to ensure the structural integrity of the ﬂight vehicle while keeping the weight as low as possible. The results of the load analysis appear as reports with the load design criteria for the aircraft. INTRODUCTION 1. power plant thrust. into new materials. launching and landing events. In other words. The load sources in ﬂight vehicles are varied and include: aerodynamics forces.8 CHAPTER 1.3 Work of the Aerospace Structural Engineer Structural engineers have very important responsibilities in aircraft/spacecraft design and operation. research leads the way for the development of new and improved air vehicle structures. Stress analysis: The objective of stress analysis is to specify the geometry (shape) and material for every structural member as well as for joints and connections required to assemble the structure. thermal loads. docking loads.
By then. or how spectacular the ﬂight dynamics. The bi-plane construction had a signiﬁcant structural advantage over the tandem wing design: the two wings and the structure between them formed a truss that was stiﬀ enough to sustain the ﬂight loads. Note the very large deﬂections of the tandem wings. What are the main structural diﬀerences between Langley’s and the Wright brothers’ designs? The Aerodrome had two tandem wings. Nine days after the failure of the Aerodrome. the consideration of structural design and analysis plays a special role. ﬂight controls and structures. No matter how good the aerodynamics. Langley’s Aerodrome and the Wright Flyer I. the Aerodrome seems to be breaking apart. the Wright brothers succeeded in the various aspects of aircraft design and construction: aerodynamics. Obviously. Figure 2.1 Early Aircraft: The Reign of the Wooden Biplane Let us compare two very early aircraft. the Wright Flyer 1 made the acknowledged ﬁrst self-propelled. The tandem wings of the Aerodrome. whereas the Flyer was a bi-plane. 2. it was clear that the ﬂight was not going to be successful. by contrast. piloted.2. controlled ﬂight in history. 2. Actually.1 shows a photograph taken during the second try.Chapter 2 A Brief History Anderson  wrote very nicely about the importance of structural design and construction in aerospace vehicles: In the grand scheme of ﬂight vehicles. Trusses had of course 9 . seem to have been much too ﬂexible. then it is all for naught. indicating that the structure was much too ﬂexible. or how powerful the propulsion. as shown in Fig. that is one wing was stacked on top of the other. at the instant after the aircraft was launched from a boat on the Potomac. it seems obvious that it played a role. and both resulted in failure. if the vehicle does not structurally hold together. It actually has a strong bearing on the ﬂight dynamics of an aircraft as will be illustrated in the next section. Although structural failure may not have been the only factor that caused the Aerodrome to crash. Two attempts were made in 1903 to ﬂy the Aerodrome. In fact. structural design has further consequences than just holding the air vehicle together.
.10 CHAPTER 2. 8. 1903. Photograph from .1: Second launch of Langley’s Aerodrome on Dec. A BRIEF HISTORY Figure 2.
This eﬃcient truss structure was so successful that bi-plane designs were the norm over the decades of the 1910s and the 1920s. The diagonal bracing between the wings was made using steel wire. to some degree. In fact. it was clear that eliminating as many bracing wires as possible from the wing structure would result in decreased drag and improved performance of the aircraft. been used long before 1903 in building and bridge construction. Another monoplane with some claim to fame was the Reissner-Junkers Ente.3. Aerodynamically. The cotton fabric was sewn so that the threads ran at 45◦ to the spars. when most airplanes had wooden structures covered with fabric. one of which was the ﬁrst to cross the English channel in 1909. by the cotton fabric used as wing skin. Vertical wing struts attach the two front spars (or span-wise running beams) located at the leading edge of each wing. while the lower wires held the wing when it was producing lift. A schematic of the Flyer’s truss is shown in Fig.2. In fact.1.4 shows one of his monoplanes. Gordon  states that “authorities in nearly every country frowned on monoplane construction. 2. This is not to say that no successful monoplanes existed in this period. Each wing had a series of ribs that served as the truss members that connected the front and rear spars in each wing. 1903. Diagonal bracing in each wing was provided. the Wright brothers adopted the trussed bi-plane design from Octave Chanute who. but their inferior stiﬀness made them dangerous. this meant that the internal structure of the wing would have to be stockier . EARLY AIRCRAFT: THE REIGN OF THE WOODEN BIPLANE 11 Figure 2. Structurally. Similar struts connect the two rear spars. Photograph from . Note the wires from the wing to the landing gear and to the apex of the post above the wing. The spars and struts were made of wood. The upper wires supported the weight of the wing when the aircraft is on the ground. December 17. Figure 2. and in some cases it was actually forbidden” Notable examples of early monoplane construction include Bleriot’s airplanes.2: First ﬂight of the Wright Flyer I. prior to his interest in aeronautics had been a successful civil engineer. because it was the ﬁrst aircraft that incorporated a metal skin. These wires supported the wing.
3: Schematic of the Wright Flyer 1 structure showing a truss-type construction. Photograph from . Figure 2. .4: Bleriot aircraft similar to the one used to ﬁrst cross the English Channel.12 CHAPTER 2. Diagram from . A BRIEF HISTORY Figure 2.
The Fokker Dr-1 tri-plane. By the end of the war.2.5. was not a single piece of wood.7 had a performance better than anything available or in immediate prospect on the Allied side . Diagram from . however. Each wing had a single spar as shown in the ﬁgure. 2. so Anthony Fokker developed a monoplane with an unbraced wing. sometimes called a cantilever wing. bamboo comes to mind as well as long bones. some aspects of structural design were still not well understood at the time. 2. The Fokker D8. Tubular structural members are very eﬃcient structures to resist bending and torsional loads.5: The Fokker Dr-1 tri-plane eliminated much of the wire bracing by employing a tubular spar for improved stiﬀness. for the Germans. By 1917 the allies were achieving air superiority. the faster D8 suﬀered from a substantial number of structural failures. Fokker discovered that the problem was a lethal form of aeroelastic instability called divergent condition that will be discussed in more detail later. The thicker wings used towards the end of WWI made this possible. The spar. Unfortunately for the Germans. but a relatively wide hollow box with two internal box spars as shown in Fig. .6. was one aircraft where most of the bracing wires were eliminated. shown in Fig. nature has many examples of tubular structures. famously ﬂown by the Red Baron. to maintain appropriate stiﬀness. 2. as shown in Fig. EARLY AIRCRAFT: THE REIGN OF THE WOODEN BIPLANE 13 Figure 2. The wings tended to come oﬀ the airplane during pull-up maneuvers that should have been within the design limits of the aircraft.1. Obviously. In fact. the traditional biplane had proven to be the safest aircraft structure and was regarded to be as almost unbreakable .
.14 CHAPTER 2. The Fokker D8.6: Cross-section of the Dr-1 spar. A BRIEF HISTORY Figure 2. Diagram from . Photograph from .7: An example of a single-wing WWI ﬁghter. Figure 2.
One of the main innovations appears to have been the concept of stressed-skin design. the wing needs to be covered with a stiﬀ material such as plywood or sheet metal instead of just fabric. 1925.1 The Establishment of the Cantilever Wing Wood design The problem of producing structurally sound. shown in Fig. was an early passenger plane produced in the late 1920s. single cantilever (unbraced) wing airplanes began to be solved in the early 1930s. 2. with a wooden skeleton covered with cloth. Therefore. The construction of the wings was of typical braced bi-plane design. Boeing model 40. shown in Fig. Instead.9 is .8: An example of truss-type construction. These airplanes were much faster than the early planes of the 1900s and could not depend on the wing fabric cover to act as bracing. Diagram from .2.2. This structural concept is called a drag-truss because it stiﬀens the wing against bending induced by drag in the front-to-back direction. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CANTILEVER WING 15 Figure 2. The Boeing Model 40B. note that wires have been used to brace the two spars and some of the ribs in each wing.2 2. 2.2.8. The fuselage is made entirely of a steel tube truss structure with the main part of the fuselage covered with thin plywood. The Lockheed Vega. This type of design requires that the wing skin carry signiﬁcant shear stress. 2.
alloys started to displace wood as the material of choice for aircraft construction. A BRIEF HISTORY Figure 2. it is not as intuitive to realize that they are also subjected to large torques. particularly aluminum. Boeing. The wing was covered with plywood panels. The development of the torque tube using stressed skin design resulted in a great structural advantage. Diagram from .16 CHAPTER 2. 2. The most successful transport aircraft of this period was the Douglas DC-3. an example of an early successful cantilever wing monoplane.2 Metal aircraft During the 1930s metal. The DC-3 was .2.9: The Lockheed model 1 Vega had a plywood wing cover. The DC-3 had a three-spar wing and featured many of the essentials of modern aircraft construction. Therefore. Douglas and other aircraft companies started developing aircraft with all-metal structures. shown in Fig. with spruce booms (or caps) and plywood webs. and it remains a main feature of conventional transport aircraft wing design.10. The tail surfaces were similarly covered with wood paneling. Lockheed. Fabric was then used to cover the wood panels. the two spars and the plywood skin formed a large box that was stiﬀ in both bending and torsion. Although it is obvious that wings are subjected to bending loads. in turn covered by fabric.2. The wing had two wooden spars. The box made by the two spars and the plywood panels had a high bending and torsional stiﬀness.
without government subsidies. Comets eventually came back into service.11 that was put in service in 1952. 2. After grounding the aircraft and conducting a historical investigation of the accidents (to be discussed later).2. or damage tolerant. It incorporated structural improvements based on the experience of the Comet and also incorporated the fail-safe. but the other two under nominal weather conditions. and so they provided signiﬁcant improvements in speed and comfort over propeller-driven aircraft. 2. the Boeing 707 (Fig.2.000 ft. but they faced strong competition from Boeing and Douglas. the ﬁrst under a storm.12) received FAA certiﬁcation. the 707 and the DC-8. By 1953 .10: The Douglas DC-3 was one of the ﬁrst successful all-metal aircraft.2. speciﬁcally. 2. One of the ﬁrst was the British deHavilland Comet. The Comets had a cruise speed of 450 mi/hr and a ceiling of 42. Aluminum alloys resistant . In 1958. It became clear that something was wrong with the Comets. the ﬁrst airplane that made airlines proﬁtable. Diagram from . The loading on the structure was causing fatigue cracks to develop on the skin that grew to a suﬃcient length to result in fast fracture. see Fig. design philosophy throughout the airframe.3 Pressurized Cabins Commercial jet-powered aircraft were developed during the 1950s. it was found that the cause of the catastrophes was structural and. which had developed more advanced jet transports. metal fatigue. respectively. however. three Comets had crashed while in ﬂight. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CANTILEVER WING 17 Figure 2.
experimental and.15.3 High Performance Aircraft Military ﬁghter aircraft. 2. aided in part by the use of ﬁber-reinforced composite materials at various points in the structure. .2. As a result the airframe of such aircraft is very robust. surprisingly. this is due to the development of lighter structures. In addition the wing skin covers are thick. as shown in Fig. however. Figure 2. It has been said  that fuel eﬃciency has improved by 2% per year over the last few decades. These composites oﬀer superior strength and stiﬀness-to-weight ratios to metal alloys. are required to withstand signiﬁcant inertial forces that are generated due to the sharp maneuvers they must be able to accomplish.4 Composite Materials The shape of commercial aircraft has changed little since the development of the 707 as can be seen by comparing the Boeing 777 in Fig 2. like the F-16. to the 707. to cracking were used to prevent fatigue failure even after millions of loading cycles. The lessons learned in the past and cost considerations. designed in the 1990s. No doubt.5 to 1 inch. general aviation aircraft.18 CHAPTER 2. in the order of 0. A BRIEF HISTORY Figure 2. The fuel eﬃciency of the newer aircraft is signiﬁcantly better. 2. however. Note how the construction of the wing involves multiple. have made the introduction of composite materials a gradual process. and one-third is due to improved airframe technology. Two-thirds of that is due to improvements in engine technology. The use of composites has been more prominent in military.14 shows the gradual introduction of composite materials in Airbus transport aircraft.11: The DeHavilland Comet. Photograph from . 2.13. closely spaced spars.
4 Summary Structural technology has played a very important role in the development of the aircraft.12: The Boeing 707. The constant tradeoﬀ between light weight and stiﬀness/strength has made modern aerospace structures some of the most optimized structures ever designed. similar issues arise in rocket and space structures. and must maintain structural integrity either in orbit or space travel to minimize deﬂections due to maneuvers (pointing maneuvers.) and thermal loads.4. . Diagram from . etc. which include high inertial and aerodynamic forces.2. such as when going from sunlight to shadow and vice-versa. orbit insertion. SUMMARY 19 Figure 2. 2. Although this brief history has concentrated on aeronautical structures. These structures must be strong enough to withstand the rigors of rocket launch.
20 CHAPTER 2. Diagram from .14: Evolution of composite materials use at Airbus. Figure 2. . Diagram from .13: The Boeing 777. A BRIEF HISTORY Figure 2.
4. .15: The F-16 ﬁghter. Diagram from . SUMMARY 21 Figure 2.2.
A BRIEF HISTORY .22 CHAPTER 2.
respectively. plate. Corrosion and embrittlement: These are results of the chemical interaction between the material and the environment. This often involves compromises over various considerations. Some of the criteria for material choice are given below. generally due to crack initiation and growth. Environmental stability: This represents the resistance to mechanical property changes due to the operating environment.) and sizes. etc. 3. Cost: The purchase cost of the material must be balanced against the physical properties of the material.Chapter 3 Materials Every airframe component needs to be constructed using an optimally chosen material. Obviously. Fatigue resistance: Fatigue is the deterioration of the structure due to cyclic loading. Availability in desired form: Materials are available in various shapes (bar. Fracture toughness: This parameter represents the resistance a material presents to fracture. including mechanical stress.1 Criteria for Material Choice Static structural eﬃciency: Two properties are of interest here. 23 . The ﬁrst is the speciﬁc strength. deﬁned by the ratio σu /ρ where σu and ρ are the ultimate stress and the density of the material. deﬁned by E/ρ. tube. Materials with high fracture toughness are preferred. materials with high speciﬁc strength and stiﬀness are desirable in aerospace structures. Manufacturing can be simpliﬁed if the materials is available in shapes and sizes that are close to those of the ﬁnished structural members. Embrittlement refers to the loss of fracture toughness. where E is the Youngs modulus of the material. sheet. Materials with high fatigue resistance are desired in air vehicles that have long operational lifetimes such as transport aircraft. The second one is the speciﬁc stiﬀness.
the later has a high yield stress. The structural engineer must decide what properties are most important for a given application. especially the 2024 and the 7075 alloys because they provide the best material property package. but have relatively low melting temperature. Radiation embrittlement can also be a problem. cost and ease of manufacture. 3. and balance those against availability. Such material does not exist. They can be extruded into complex shapes. such as the earth’s. drilling. of a material and inﬂuences the manufacturing costs of the airframe. can induce in undesired moments that cause orientation change of satellites. Thermal conductivity and expansion coeﬃcients are critical parameters. Materials used in satellites and interplanetary vehicles must meet requirements dictated by the space environment. so the issue of material choice is usually a compromise. Figure 3. . Non-magnetic materials are preferred. and some of the most commonly used ones in aerospace structures are listed below. Radiation properties: Radiation can have the eﬀect of removing structural material and must be accounted if thin-ﬁlms are used. Aluminum alloys: They are the most commonly used materials in aircraft construction. etc. Magnetic properties: Magnetic ﬁelds. Some of the additional material properties of interest for spacecraft are: Vacuum properties: The very low pressures in the space environment may cause polymeric materials to decompose and metals to sublimate. The former has good fatigue characteristics. The ideal aerospace structural material would have excellent characteristics in all the above categories. Space telescopes are examples of satellites where thermal expansion is of critical importance because changes in dimensions can have detrimental eﬀects on optic performance. Atmospheric entry vehicles experience high temperatures. Thermal properties: Low-earth orbit satellites experience wide temperature ranges as they go from shade to direct sunlight.2 Typical Aerospace Materials Many materials are available to the structural engineer.1 gives an idea of what the material property requirements are for diﬀerent structural components in the aircraft. MATERIALS Fabrication characteristics: This refers to the easy cutting.24 CHAPTER 3.
Figure taken from .1: Aircraft material property requirements. TYPICAL AEROSPACE MATERIALS 25 Figure 3.3.2. .
. stainless. with other constituents also added. although it could be metal and even carbon (carbon-carbon composites are used in aircraft brakes). It possesses one of the best structural eﬃciency among metals. tool. carbon. Kevlar. They tend to be expensive and can hide damage. Composites are slowing replacing aluminum parts in airframes. in the order of 300 ksi. etc.26 CHAPTER 3. they are generally made of continuous ﬁbers embedded in a matrix. etc. Lighter than steel. with proper processing. The ﬁbers can be glass. stiﬀer and stronger than aluminum. for example low carbon. A great variety of diﬀerent steel alloys exist. but it is more expensive and harder to machine. They can develop very large strengths. Composite materials: In aerospace structures. it can be used to temperatures in the neighborhood of 1000◦ C. MATERIALS Titanium alloys: Alternative to aluminum alloys for prolonged operation at temperatures above 150◦ C. thus making them harder to inspect. The matrix is usually a polymer. Steel alloys: Steels are alloys of iron and carbon. Composites have great structural eﬃciency in the direction of the ﬁbers and can be tailored to achieve interesting material properties (one example is zero coeﬃcient of thermal expansion).
1 showing the structure of the Boeing B-29 to follow the discussion. where it is called the wing carry-through box. They are particularly important to resist compressive stresses because they increase the buckling strength of the skin. Here. the outline of the wing-box is easily seen because it is delineated by no-step lines and/or has a diﬀerent color than the rest of the wing as shown in Fig. As a ﬁrst approximation. such as the Lockheed C-5 or the Boeing 747. Each of these is in turn composed of various structural members. Please see Fig. In these cases the torque boxes are called multi-cell. The wing spars also serve as attachment points to the many devices that the wing accommodates.1 Wing The wing is the primary lift-producing part of an airplane. Aircraft that withstand high wing loads may have more than two spars. a tube-like structure called the wing-box. or wing skin. as shown in Fig. reaction loads from the landing gear. Examples include ﬂap tracks. The aerodynamic pressure and friction loads act directly on the surface of the wing.1. The airfoil-shape of the cross-section of the wing is formed over a set of ribs that also serve to transfer the aerodynamic loads from the skin to the main structural part of the wing. which are span-wise bars that are attached to the skin. 4. and the skins in the upper and lower surfaces of the wing between the spars.016 in. aileron and spoiler hinges.2. attached to the spars. 4.75 in. 4. to about 0. etc. In many airplanes.Chapter 4 Structural Nomenclature The main parts of the anatomy of an airframe are: the fuselage. The wing skin is stiﬀened using stringers. which are span-wise beams in the wing. its structure is subjected to high stresses that arise due to aerodynamics forces and moments as well as loads due to the weight of engines and stores. As such. in turn. the wing skin thickness can range from 0. the wing box can 27 . usually made of sheet metal. 4. Such a torque-box is called single-cell. Depending on the purpose of the airplane. the wing-box is a tube formed by two spars. Note that the wing-box goes across the fuselage. The bending and torsional characteristics of the wing-box are very important structural parameters. etc. leading edge device attachment ﬁxtures. Wing-mounted engines can be attached to mounting ribs that are. In the B-29 and many other aircraft. landing gear. the wing and the empennage. the main structural members are presented.
STRUCTURAL NOMENCLATURE Figure 4.28 CHAPTER 4. . Diagram taken from .1: Structure of the B29 Bomber.
Also note the absence of a carry-through box. As such. Photograph taken from .2: The Lockheed C141 ‘Starlifter. the reaction from the landing gear. Instead. These loads can be augmented by inertial forces during maneuvers and landing. if it is relatively long as in the B-29.4. instead they should be thought of more as plates. 4. the wings are attached to strong bulkheads and frames in the fuselage. fuselages have a skin that covers the . so it is subjected to signiﬁcant bending loads from its own and the payload’s weights. etc. as can be seen in Fig. the fuselage basically hangs from the wing. 4. The wings of ﬁghter aircraft have low aspect ration and must be very strong to resist the high loads that result from abrupt maneuvers. The placement of the engine makes it impossible to use this structure. but point loads induced by the weight of the engines. be thought of as a tubular beam that carries both bending and torsional loads.2. the fuselage can usually be thought of as a beam.3. Low aspect ratio wings cannot be modeled as beams. In this case multiple spar-like members are used to give the wing the appropriate strength. The aerodynamic loads are distributed over the length of the wing. As such. FUSELAGE 29 Figure 4. Like wings. also stress the wing. In ﬂight.2 Fuselage The fuselage is the body of the airplane that carries the payload. as a ﬁrst approximation.’ Note the outline of the wingbox. they have diﬀerent construction.
where the skin stiﬀened using length-wise running stringers/longerons. In the latter two cases.040 in. The elevators are the main control surfaces in .3. as shown in Fig. In many ﬁghter aircraft. of monocoque construction. Pressurized fuselages must also serve as pressure vessels that resist the pressure diﬀerential between the inside of the cabin and the outside environment. Frames near the wing have to be stronger since they also have to transfer loads between the fuselage and the wing. which is opposite to the construction of the wing. the fuselage also contains and supports the engine. Semi-monocoque construction. Bulkheads are used to cap longitudinal sections of the fuselage. as in the B-29 has been preferred for many aircraft. although the rear spar may be stronger. STRUCTURAL NOMENCLATURE Figure 4.3: The F-16 ﬁghter. Fuselage structures can be of truss-frame construction. 4.4(c). where the skin alone resists all stresses. 4. as shown in Fig. which generally have similar construction characteristics as the wing. Torsional loads also arise in the fuselage during rolling and yawing maneuvers. The thickness of the skin in the fuselage is usually smaller than that used in the wing.30 CHAPTER 4. Diagram taken from . 4. or of semi-monocoque construction. In the case of the B-29 these bulkheads must be able to withstand pressure diﬀerentials.3 Empennage The empennage contains the horizontal and vertical stabilizers. the skin is formed over frames that maintain the shape of the cross-section of the fuselage. narrow-body aircraft such as the Boeing 737 is in the order of 0. The fuselage skin thickness of a pressurized. structure.
EMPENNAGE 31 Figure 4. Diagram taken from .4: Types of fuselage construction. .3.4.
. STRUCTURAL NOMENCLATURE the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder in the vertical stabilizer. thus requiring more strength farther aft . These control surfaces cause the center of pressure to move towards the rear of the stabilizers.32 CHAPTER 4.
and it must not fail (break). Such margin of safety is generally established by government agencies based on the work of committees made of engineers working on a particular ﬁeld. Generally. 33 . In the case of airplane structures. These are presented next. whether the aircraft will have a transport mission. or a ﬁghter mission. or an aerobatic mission. that is. etc. In each case. • Taxi and takeoﬀ • Cruise • Maneuvers • Landing Design loads must be carefully established for every segment of the aircraft mission. dictates the requirements for military aircraft. of course. once the service loads are determined. In other words. The objective of structural design is to maintain the shape and integrity of the aircraft during each part of the mission.Chapter 5 Structural Design Deﬁnitions It is clear that any structure must be sized according to the loads that it is supposed to carry. The FAA guidelines can be reviewed on line by going to www. the structure must prevent excessive deformations that can interfere with the operation of the aircraft. The military. the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the government agency responsible for establishing factors of safety for the structure of civilian aircraft. the structure is actually designed to carry higher loads in order to establish a margin of safety.faa.gov. the applied loads depend on the mission of the aircraft. In the US. an aircraft mission can be roughly divided into four parts . It is important to become familiar with certain terms and deﬁnitions used in the design of aircraft structures.
Furthermore. the resulting deformations must not interfere with the safe operation of the aircraft.2) The ultimate load is deﬁned as the product of the limit load times the factor of safety: In aircraft structures. the load factor along the yaw axis is given by L (5.8).5). These loads are often determined statistically by assessing the probability that such load will arise. 5. This factor of safety is relatively low compared to other structures in civil and mechanical engineering because the weight of the aircraft must be as low as possible. Examples of positive limit load factors for diﬀerent aircraft types are : Fighters (5. generally the factor of safety is 1. in some instances. level ﬂight is n = 1.3 Ultimate Load Ultimate load = Limit load × Factor of safety. Such limit load factors depend on the mission. Therefore. diﬀerent parts of the airplane may experience diﬀerent load factors.5 to take into account unexpected circumstances. A common practice is to establish the limit loads through a limit load factor that an airplane must withstand and still satisfy the criterion above. aerospace structural design must be very carefully done.1 Load Factor The load factor (n) is a multiplying factor that deﬁnes the load on the airplane or any part of it in terms of its weight. . etc. It can even become negative. 5. Guidelines for the calculation of the aircraft loads in compliance with FAA regulations can be found in the FAA website. paying attention to careful and accurate analysis and testing. For the whole airplane in ﬂight. an aircraft structure must be able to withstand the ultimate loads for at least three seconds without failure . the load factor under steady. For example. but n can increase or decrease during maneuvers.1) n= W where L is the lift and W is the weight of the airplane.34 CHAPTER 5. When the structure is loaded to the limit load.3-8. STRUCTURAL DESIGN DEFINITIONS 5. private aircraft (3. (5. passenger transports (2. According to the FAA regulations.7).2 Limit Loads Limit loads are the maximum loads that are anticipated during the service life of the aircraft.
The eﬀect of fatigue must be established during design. while en route from Hilo.1. Here we will brieﬂy review some of their most basic concepts. generally due to crack initiation and growth. Fracture has not forgiven aerospace structures. at 1346.2 The following excerpt of the abstract of the NTSB report explains what happened : On April 28. 1988.1 Fatigue Design Criteria Fatigue considerations are important parts of aircraft structural design. to Honolulu. the problems have generally been associated with fatigue. 7 passengers and 1 ﬂight attendant received serious injuries. The ﬁelds of fracture mechanics and fatigue of materials are immense. N73711. Up to 30% of the early Liberty Ships failed catastrophically as a result of an all welded structure. 6.. For more information on the Liberty Ships see . operated by Aloha Airlines Inc. One ﬂight attendant was swept overboard during the decompression and is presumed to have been fatally injured.000 feet. as ﬂight 243. Figure 6. Two major design philosophies are used in aerospace structures with respect to fatigue : 35 . One catastrophic example of the results of fatigue is shown in Fig. catastrophic events. for example. There were 89 passengers and 6 crew members on board. a Boeing 737-200. Approximately 18 feet of the cabin skin and structure aft of the cabin entrance door and above the passenger ﬂoor-line separated from the airplane during ﬂight. Hawaii. Fatigue is the deterioration of the structure due to cyclic loading. shows a one-day old Schenectady tanker. The ﬂight crew performed an emergency descent and landed at Kahului Airport on the Island of Maui. In these structures. 6.Chapter 6 Fatigue and Fracture Fracture is a failure mechanism of great concern in structures that can result in unexpected. experienced an explosive decompression and structural failure at 24. poor workmanship and the use of materials with low fracture toughness. which failed by splitting as shown in 1943 in clear weather upon returning to harbor after successful sea trials.
1: Fractured Schenectady Liberty ship.36 CHAPTER 6. . FATIGUE AND FRACTURE Figure 6. Photograph taken from .
1.2: Aloha Airlines ﬂight 243. after an emergency landing. This requires that the structure be able to absorb failure of a component without overall failure. The design requirements for fail-safe design have to specify what a reasonable maximum damage can be allowed in an airframe.1. Roughly. no cracks are allowed and fatigue is seen as a safety problem. 1988.1.1 Safe-Life Design In safe-life design the structural component must remain crack-free during service. In other words. Failsafe design is used for major structural components such as the fuselage. 6. The landing gear is one example. Inspections have to be carried with a frequency that will ensure that undetected damage in one inspection will not grow to the extent that it can result in failure before the following inspection. April 28. and that periodic inspections of the airframe be conducted. it is recognized that the strength of the structure will decrease from that required to sustain the calculated ultimate loads. . but the damage will not lead to structural failure before it is detected. 6.2 Fail-Safe Design In fail-safe design the structure can be safely operated even if there is some degree of damage (damage-tolerant structure).6. 6.3 Choice Between Safe-Life and Fail-Sage Designs Safe-life design is used with parts that cannot be duplicated without paying severe weight penalties and that can be replaced relatively easily. but it should not be allowed to decrease more than it is required to sustain the design limit loads. FATIGUE DESIGN CRITERIA 37 Figure 6.1.
Why things break was a mystery up until the beginning of the 20th century. Stress concentrations are local areas of high stress introduced by discontinuities (generally geometric) in structures. cracks. Note that stresses increase with increasing crack length . The stress ﬁeld around the hole turns out to be complex including all in-plane stress components (σx . 6.1) b In terms of the root radius of curvature of the ellipse ρ = b2 /a at those locations.3) It is clear that the presence of even a short crack can cause a very large increase in the local stresses at the crack tip. Figuring out how fracture proceeds took several steps and people with good physical understanding. σ ρ (6.) of unintentional (scratches. (6.38 CHAPTER 6. Such discontinuities may be intentional (windows and doors in a fuselage. You can easily feel the eﬀect of stress concentrations by taking a strip of paper and tearing it by pulling only.4. (6.). but by then it had been observed that catastrophic failure could occur even when the calculated stresses were much less than the strength of the materials used (hence the need for safety factors). The reason is that the small tear leads to the development of very high stresses at its tip. subjected to a uniaxial stress σ. rivet holes. etc.3(b). in other words. etc. so only a few important results will be quoted here.  as shown in Fig. 6. If you pull this strip. even though the cross-sectional area has only been reduced by a small fraction.2 Fracture The subject of fracture addresses the breaking of splitting of objects due to the growth of cracks. FATIGUE AND FRACTURE 6. 6.2. dents. and it is 2a σmax = σ 1 + .2) ρ Note that a crack can be approximated by an ellipse with a >> b. The maximum normal stress occurs at the points with x = ±a.1 Stress concentration The issue of stress concentration is a very important ﬁrst step in the study of fracture. it creates a stress concentration. τxy ). Then take an identical strip and put a small tear (about one twentieth or one tenth of the width in length) in the middle as shown in Fig. σy . One of the most basic cases in fracture is that of a large plate with an elliptical hole .3(a) and feel how much force it takes to tear it. the maximum stress is a σmax = σ 1 + 2 . you will ﬁnd it takes much less force to tear this strip. which leads to ρ << 1 and the stress concentration factor is then given by σmax a ≈2 . First take the intact strip as in Fig. 6. The calculation of stress concentrations are in general treated in Elasticity graduate courses.
3: (a) Uniform plate and (b) Plate with discontinuity .6.2. FRACTURE 39 (a) (b) Figure 6.
more energy is released than required to create new surface. supposing a crack is present in a component. as shown in Fig. 6. Some of the material unloads just behind the crack tip.2. (6. new surfaces are created. the crack will not grow. a constant that depends on the geometry and loading of √ the component. For plane stress and the coordinate system shown in Fig. As the crack advances.2 When will a crack propagate? Now. some strain energy is released and is available to do work. 6.4 Fracture Criterion Fracture criteria are generally stated in terms of the stress intensity factor.4) where K is the stress intensity factor. 6. Therefore. if a part is stressed to some given level. and it takes energy to create a surface. loaded uniaxially by a far-ﬁeld stress σ applied perpendicular to the crack.3 Stress Intensity Factor The stresses near the crack tip for an opening crack deformation are dictated by the geometry of the crack. for a very large plate with a central crack.2. however. because the sides of a crack are free of forces. what would be the maximum stress that could be applied before the crack grows uncontrollably? Or asking the same question in another way. Stress concentration factors for many diﬀerent geometric conﬁgurations are provided in handbooks.6: √ K = σ πa. 6. Also note that the magnitude of the stress ﬁeld varies as 1/ r as measured from the crack tip.40 CHAPTER 6.2.5. Values for K for many loading conﬁgurations are available in fracture handbooks. and let the crack extend a little increment. Once the stress intensity factor is known for a sample of given geometry. For example. If on the other hand. If the released strain energy is less than the energy required to create the new surface. they are given by : K θ θ 3θ σx = √ cos 1 − sin cos 2 2 2 2πr K θ θ 3θ σy = √ 1 + sin cos cos 2 2 2 2πr θ θ 3θ K cos sin cos τxy = √ 2 2 2 2πr (6. what would be the maximum crack length that could be tolerated? The basic theory was developed by Griﬃth in the 1920s based on an energy argument that goes as follows : Imagine a crack in a plate under ﬁxed edge displacements. such sample can be subjected to a . the crack becomes unstable and extends rapidly. FATIGUE AND FRACTURE and decreasing crack tip radius.5) 6.
FRACTURE 41 σ y 2b 2a x σ Figure 6. .4: Plate with an elliptical hole under uniaxial tension. y σy τ xy σx r θ Crack faces x Figure 6.5: Region near the crack tip.2.6.
This critical value is called K c . test to determine the value of K at which the crack extends. Any specimen shape may be used to determine Kc provided its stress intensity factor is known. the fracture toughness of the material. So the answers to the questions posed above are obtained from knowledge of the fracture toughness of materials and the stress intensity factor for the geometry and loading of the structural member being considered.6: A large plate with a central crack. . FATIGUE AND FRACTURE σ 2a σ Figure 6.42 CHAPTER 6. It is a material property.
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