Weight Trades in the Design of a Composite Wing Box: Effect of Various Design Choices

A process to efficiently design composite wing boxes is presented. It uses analytical and semi-empirical equations for failure modes such as material strength, plate buckling, stiffener column buckling and stiffener flange or web crippling. Laminate layups for the different components are selected in accordance with basic engineering rules and guidelines and are updated as necessary to meet the local loads. The emphasis is in allowing buckling of skins at any fraction of the ultimate load and allowing local load redistribution from buckled to non-buckled panels to save weight. The design process is automated and the design can be automatically transferred over to a commercial finite-element code for detailed design and validation. The effects on weight of number of spars, ribs, and stiffeners as well as the fraction of ultimate load at which buckling is allowed are examined and insight is gained to which of these the weight is most sensitive to. In addition, the effect of minimum gage on weight was found to be a driver.


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  • Accession Number: 01709038
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 27 2019 2:41PM