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Introduction course Aerospace engineering

February 2009

Date: 04-02-2009

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Program of course
1. Topology of airplanes Top level
Names and location of airplanes parts/structure Barrels / Typical section names Airbus fuselages Development Design and Stress Certification Sustaining What is basically our work at GT?: Report smallest Reserve Factor (RF) Applied loads Know your structure by knowing your loads Allowed loads RF = Allowed load/ Applied load Types of failure modes with explanations, pictures and references (handbooks, authority requirements, Issy etc.) Skin geometry, loads, relevant failure modes, material, stress state Frames geometry, loads, relevant failure modes, material, stress state Stringers geometry, loads, relevant failure modes, material, stress state


Engineering life cycle

NOTE:This is a rough setup of the course. More chapters will be added and content can be modified!


Failure modes


Detailed description of fuselage engineering process

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Topology of airplanes Top level

Names and location of airplanes parts/structure:

There are many aspects of design of aircraft structure. Generally, the main components of an aircraft are : Fuselage Empennage Wings The next figure shows a detailed structural design of a commercial aircraft.

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Topology of airplanes Top level

Structural Design of commercial aircraft

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Topology of airplanes Top level

Typical section name

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Movements of an airplane
Yawing: Rotating around its vertical axis (Z- axis)

Rolling: Rotating around its longitudinal axis (X-axis)

Pitching: Rotating around its transverse axis (Y-axis)

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Structurally, the empennage consists of the entire tail assembly. Its main purpose is to give stability to the aircraft. The fixed parts are the vertical and horizontal stabilizer The elevator is a movable airfoil that controls changes in pitch, the up-and-down motion of the aircraft's nose. The rudder is a movable airfoil that is used to turn the aircraft in combination with the ailerons

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Typical arrangement of the transport tail

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It conventionally takes form of: Spars Ribs Covering skin Stringers

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Spars Webs - resist shear loads and stabilise skin (i.e. increase buckling resistance). Flanges - resist compressive loads caused by wing bending. Stringers Further increase skin buckling resistance. Take some of the bending load Ribs Maintain aerodynamic shape. Provide anchorage points for landing gear, weapons, etc. Skin Resist shear torsion loads ( box shapes of combined skin/web) React axial bending loads
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Barrels / Typical section names Airbus fuselages

The fuselage is a stiffened shell commonly referred to as semimonocoque construction The different sections of an aircraft fuselage are : Forward section Mid section Aft section Afterbody

In order to support the skin, its necessary to provide stiffening members, frames, bulkheads, stringers and longerons .

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Typical section names Airbus fuselages

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Fuselage structures: shells

Fuselages are too big to be built in one piece. So, instead, they are built C for frame as shells that are later assembled. (cadre)

P for stringer

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The fuselage as a beam contains: Longitudinal elements : - Longerons - Stringers Transverse elements : - Frames - Bulkheads

External skin

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Engineering life cycle

The modern aeronautical engineering of aircraft design has been an evolutionary process accelerated in recent times from the demanding requirements for safety and the pressures of competitive economics in structural design. The primary objective of the structural designer is : - To achieve the maximum possible safety margin - To achieve a reasonable lifetime of the aircraft structure

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Development testing of a transport airplane

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Engineering life cycle

Phases of airframe structural design:
Specification of function and design criteria Determination of basic external applied loads Calculation of internal element loads Determination of allowable element strengths and margins of safety Experimental demonstration or substantiation test programs

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Airplane design, development and certification

Design Specification Design Criteria

Basic Loads

Flight Test Data

Airplane Design

Laboratory Development Test Data

Certification Test Program Approved type Certificate

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Engineering life cycle

The dotted arrows indicate feed-back where experimental data is utilized to modify the design as necessary The laboratory development test is an important feature of any new vehicle program: To develop design data on materials and shapes To substantiate any new theory or structural configuration The certification test program will demonstrate success without degenerating into more and expensive development work

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Engineering life cycle

Planning and structural weight
A good design is the result of proper planning and scheduling Every aircraft engineer in a company is concerned about weight.

Finite Element Modeling (FEM)

It is the most versatile tool in structural analysis NASTRAN is one of the earliest FEM programs developed by NASA in the mid-1960s to handle the analysis of missiles and aircraft structures NASTRAN is one of the most used program in the aeronautic field

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Engineering life cycle

Entire airframe finite element model

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Detailed description of fuselage engineering process

Skin geometry, loads, relevant failure modes, material, stress state: The largest single item of the fuselage structure is the skin and its stiffeners It is the most critical structure since it carries all of the primary loads due to fuselage bending, shear, torsion and cabin pressure The fuselage skin carries the shear from the applied external transverse and torsional forces and cabin pressure The skin thickness required on a fuselage is thinner than on wing External pressure loads are much lower on the fuselage than on the wing

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Skin most important load carrying part of the fuselage. Carries the cabin pressure load (Dp). Carried most of the bending loads (e.g. aircraft mass) Work like membranes (plane stress)



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Frames geometry, loads, relevant failure modes, material, stress state: It serves to maintain the shape of the fuselage and to reduce the column length of the stringers to prevent general instability of the structure Frames are generally of light construction Frame load are generally small and often tend to balance each other Fuselage frames are equivalent in function to wing rib The design of fuselage frames may be influenced by loads resulting from equipment mounted in the fuselage

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Frames provide stability to the skin in circumferential direction Work like beams (carry axial, shear, and bending loads)



deformed shape

skin alone can not carry shear load

frames have bending stiffness, distribute the shear load

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Typical frame designs (1) Normal frame with clip

Stringer Frame inner flange

Frame web Skin Frame outer flange Clip

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Typical frame designs (2) Integral frame (skin connection is integrated in frame profile)

Frame inner flange Stringer

Frame web Frame outer flange Skin Cleat

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Typical frame designs (3)

Inner flange Frame Clip Stringer (z-shape) Continuous under frame Skin Outer flange Web Stringer (z-shape) Continuous under frame


Z-Frame + clip and skin

Integral Z-frame and skin

Z-Section can be replaced by C-section profiles

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Stringers geometry, loads, relevant failure modes, material, stress state: Further increase skin buckling resistance. Provide stiffness in axial direction

sy in the skin

forces in stringers in axial direction

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Fuselage structures : Loads

To understand a structure, you must: Understand the loads Make abstraction / find analogies (e.g. fuselage looks like a beam) Visualize the deformation: deformations lead to stresses stresses lead to reaction forces reaction forces lead to equilibrium
Important term: Load case. This is applied loads!
The applied loads lead to internal reaction loads, to give equilibrium.

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Applied fuselage cabin pressure

Fuselage weight

Applied fuselage bending moment

Reactions in the fuselage

Hoop stress Compression load

Longitudinal tension stress


Mixture of: Hoop stress Shear Horizontal tail plane download Longitudinal tension Compression load

Wing upload and torsion moment

Typical dominating load case for a fuselage structure: symmetric down bending + internal pressure Dp Typical dominating internal loads in fuselage skin

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Reserve Factor (RF)

A measure of strength frequently used in Europe is the Reserve Factor (RF) with the allowed loads and applied loads expressed in the same units . The Reserve Factor is defined as :

Allowed Loads RF Applied Loads

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The field of aerospace engineering uses generally lower design factors because the costs associated with structural weight are high. This low design factor is why aerospace parts and materials are subject to more stringent quality control The usually applied safety factor is 1.5, but for pressurized fuselage it is 2.0 and for landing gear structures it is 1.25

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Limit Loads are the maximum loads expected in service

At limit load, the structure may not fail neither have permanent deformation of the structure.
Before ultimate load, no failure is allowed but permanent deformation is allowed. At ultimate load (usually the limit load multiplied with the safety factor), the aircraft structure is allowed to fail.

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Materials (i.e. A350)

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Explanation of Failure Mode Types


(SAMOD Users

B : Failure due to excessive bearing stress BF : Initial buckling of skin panel at fatigue load cases (FAT..). Activated with SAMOD option sasel Ah: initial buckling of skin at limit load of flight load cases (Information only). BL : Lateral Stability (Buckling) of frame BN : Tension Blunt Notch in GLARE skins BU : Buckling of structural part, e.g. skin or web CR : Crippling acc. HSB 53211; Check for sufficient support from a free flange (20%-rule) Dn : Geometric check for middle flange stiffness according DIN4114 for different load types n FK : Compressive strength analysis acc. to Fokker, see: SAMOD Theoretical Manual

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D1 : Compressive strength analysis of skin acc. to MBB-UT (Erdmann), see: SAMOD Theoretical Manual D3 : Compressive strength analysis of skin acc. to modified HSB method (Meier), see: SAMOD Theoretical Manual DT : Damage tolerance GB : Global Buckling FC : Failure due to diagonal folds on the skin panel (forced crippling), see: SAMOD Theoretical Manual FT : Fatigue failure HS : Allowable stress values acc. to HSB Manual WM : Allowable compressive forces for web modulations as described in PROPER Theoretical Manual

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JE : Buckling according to Johnson/Euler, see: SAMOD Theoretical Manual JM : Web buckling analysis LS : Lateral Stability analysis of cross-beams MT : Allowable stress values based on material values R : Rivet failure RC : Riveting circumferential (analysis of circumferential joints) RF : Riveting frame (analysis of frame riveting - clip/shear web) RL : Riveting longitudinal (analysis of longitudinal joints) RS : Riveting skin (analysis of skin riveting on the frame) SH : Shear

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UD : Allowable user-defined stress values Explanation of Location 1 (LOC1) WI : Windenburg; Geometric check for sufficient support from free flange 1-8 : Rivet row for reserve factors for riveted joints

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Failure due to shear load

Skin panel failure due to shear :
Failure in the upper critical range differ from those in the lower critical range Excessive buckling concentrations occur in panel zones with large deformation caused by diagonal tension This causes a reduction of the skin panel load capacity

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Forced crippling of stringer

Local failure of the compressively loaded stiffener elements (e.g. stringers ) takes places caused by deformation in the diagonal tension field.

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Stringer column buckling failure :

The column buckling is due to compressive stress in the stiffener caused by the effect of diagonal tension in the skin

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Crippling of stringer sections

Crippling failure modes :

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Compressive strength of stiffened shells

Instability modes :

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