Mechanics of Aircraft Structures
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Mechanics of Aircraft Structures

C. T. Sun, Ashfaq Adnan

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eBook - ePub

Mechanics of Aircraft Structures

C. T. Sun, Ashfaq Adnan

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About This Book


Explore the most up-to-date overview of the foundations of aircraft structures combined with a review of new aircraft materials

The newly revised Third Edition of Mechanics of Aircraft Structures delivers a combination of the fundamentals of aircraft structure with an overview of new materials in the industry and a collection of rigorous analysis tools into a single one-stop resource. Perfect for a one-semester introductory course in structural mechanics and aerospace engineering, the distinguished authors have created a textbook that is also ideal for mechanical or aerospace engineers who wish to stay updated on recent advances in the industry.

The new edition contains new problems and worked examples in each chapter and improves student accessibility. A new chapter on aircraft loads and new material on elasticity and structural idealization form part of the expanded content in the book. Readers will also benefit from the inclusion of:

  • A thorough introduction to the characteristics of aircraft structures and materials, including the different types of aircraft structures and their basic structural elements
  • An exploration of load on aircraft structures, including loads on wing, fuselage, landing gear, and stabilizer structures
  • An examination of the concept of elasticity, including the concepts of displacement, strain, and stress, and the equations of equilibrium in a nonuniform stress field
  • A treatment of the concept of torsion

Perfect for senior undergraduate and graduate students in aerospace engineering, Mechanics of Aircraft Structures will also earn a place in the libraries of aerospace engineers seeking a one-stop reference to solidify their understanding of the fundamentals of aircraft structures and discover an overview of new materials in the field.

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Characteristics of Aircraft Structures and Materials


An aircraft is a vehicle that is used for flight in the air. A vehicle like this is typically built by assembling many component structures such as wing, fuselage, landing gears, stabilizers, etc. Each component structure is typically built by assembling many substructures. Each substructure can be made out of different materials. The main difference between aircraft structures and materials and civil engineering structures and materials lies in their weight. The main driving force in aircraft structural design and aerospace material development is to reduce weight. In general, materials with high stiffness, high strength, and light weight are most suitable for aircraft applications.
Aircraft structures must be designed to ensure that every part of the material is used to its full capability. A typical aircraft design cycle involves three major steps – (i) conceptual design, (ii) preliminary design, and (iii) detail design. In any of these design stages, different factors such as aerodynamics, avionics, propulsion, and structural integrity are simultaneously taken into account. As such, aircraft structures are not designed for structural safety and integrity only; many nonstructural requirements impose additional restrictions in designing aircraft structural components. For instance, an airfoil is chosen according to aerodynamic lift and drag characteristics. As such, the size and shape of an aircraft structural component are usually predetermined. Such restrictions significantly limit the number of solutions for structural problems in terms of global configurations. Often, the solutions resort to the use of special materials developed for applications in aerospace vehicles.
The nonstructural and weight‐saving design requirements generally lead to the use of shell‐like structures (monocoque constructions) and stiffened shell structures (semimonocoque constructions). The geometrical details of aircraft structures are much more complicated than those of civil engineering structures. They usually require the assemblage of thousands of parts. Technologies for joining the parts are especially important for aircraft construction.
Because of their high stiffness/weight and strength/weight ratios, aluminum and titanium alloys have been the dominant aircraft structural materials for many decades. However, the recent advent of advanced fiber‐reinforced composites has changed the outlook. Composites may now achieve weight savings of 30–40% over aluminum or titanium counterparts. As a result, composites have been used increasingly in aircraft structures.


Most aircraft are built as fixed‐wing vehicles and are commonly known as airplanes. Other categories include rotorcrafts, glider, lighter‐than‐air vehicles, etc. Presence of air is essential for generating lift on these vehicles. As such, structural design of such vehicles depends on how airload is transmitted to the structural elements.

1.2.1 Fixed‐Wing Aircraft

A fixed‐wing aircraft is a kind of air vehicle that is heavier‐than...

Table of contents

Citation styles for Mechanics of Aircraft Structures
APA 6 Citation
Sun, C., & Adnan, A. (2021). Mechanics of Aircraft Structures (3rd ed.). Wiley. Retrieved from (Original work published 2021)
Chicago Citation
Sun, C, and Ashfaq Adnan. (2021) 2021. Mechanics of Aircraft Structures. 3rd ed. Wiley.
Harvard Citation
Sun, C. and Adnan, A. (2021) Mechanics of Aircraft Structures. 3rd edn. Wiley. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Sun, C, and Ashfaq Adnan. Mechanics of Aircraft Structures. 3rd ed. Wiley, 2021. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.