Metallic Structural Analysis
Thin-skinnned, post-buckled, aluminum structure has proven to be a very efficient and cost effective way to build aircraft and other weight-critical structures. Large subassemblies are usually jointed using metallic fittings. Welded structures are used in about every industrial application today. All of these examples require specific analysis techniques to accurately predict strength and life of a structure. Avery Aerospace specializes in classical "hand" structural analysis used successfully for decades to produce light-weight structure.
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The compression strength of a conventional, light-weight structure, made of thin skin and discrete stiffeners, requires a post-buckling analysis. Classical methods for compression strength rely on all the components to calculate strength. The skin is assumed to carry its critical buckling load, while the stiffeners collapse at or near crippling, if panel buckling allows. Modern geometrically non-linear finite element analysis methods can also be used to predict post-buckled strength, as long as the stresses are below the material’s proportioal limit. Otherwise, non-linear material stress-strain data needs to be used in the finite element model for the predicted compressive strength to be accurate.
Fitting Structural Analysis
Fitting strength predictions have generally been performed using hand analysis. Tension fittings are traditionally handled using semi-empirical methods. However, finite element analysis can be used to accurately predict life-limiting, stress concentrations. This information is used to calculate durability through fatigue or fracture mechanics approaches. Solid element finite element models can yield valuable insight into the peak stress levels in fittings and machined parts if the models are reasonably constrained.