THE POTENTIAL OF ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FOR AIRCRAFT STRUCTURES

This paper is a review of several recent developments in aircraft design which may lead to lighter weight and less expensive aircraft with improved fatigue life and lower maintenance costs. These include the increasing use of lightweight materials such as glass fibers, carbon fibers, or certain new aluminum alloys for aircraft components in lieu of heavy materials without sacrificing strength, stiffness, or corrosion resistance. Through such digital computer aided design techniques as the finite element method, it is possible to predict stress levels of aircraft and their components to a much greater degree of accuracy than was previously possible. Development of an active control system which can make in-flight adjustments automatically can improve aircraft performance (e.g. on automatic gust alleviation system installed on a Lockheed 1011 TriStar makes possible the use of wing tip extensions which conserve fuel by increasing the wing aspect ratio and hence improving lift/drag characteristics but without the need for structural reinforcement which would negate the savings in fuel). Recent advances in computer microminaturisation has also made feasible in-aircraft computer systems which can continually monitor and record a variety of parameters (e.g. airspeed, etc.) so as to ascertain the fatigue margin of an aircraft fleet, thereby providing a more reliable basis for scheduled maintenance and repair of fatigue damaged and hence increasing aircraft service life.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Royal Aeronautical Society

    4 Hamilton Place
    London S1V 0BQ,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Molyneux, W G
  • Publication Date: 1978-9

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00183877
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 11 1979 12:00AM