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October 2006 edition

A breakthough on the breakouts: Improved high frequency dynamic airframe loads and stress prediction

By Philip Lang and Dr Louis Centolanza

As part of the Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) Light, Affordable and Durable Structures programme, a new high cycle internal loads method has been developed that increases the accuracy of predictive methods over existing techniques. Using the new methodology, critical airframe components are identified and highly detailed ‘break-out’ models of these sub-structures are created.

Motions at the points on these critical structural elements where they join the larger airframe are calculated using a new method that couples the full aircraft NASTRAN model and the comprehensive rotor analysis model (RCAS) in a unique fashion and eliminates necessary, but inaccurate, assumptions. The motions at the points of these critical structural elements are then applied to the break-out models as boundary conditions for calculation of the internal loads and stress. In addition, methodology has been developed to help guide the development of newly designed aircraft by using the full airframe model to identify local sub-structures that are candidates for ‘break-out’ analysis.

The ability to accurately predict high cycle stresses in primary structure during airframe development is critical for accurate evaluation of the structural integrity of all rotorcraft. Current tools and methodologies lack the required level of fidelity and validation to allow their results to be confidently relied on for certification of new and modified airframe structures. As a result, much time and money is....

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