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LIFTING SURFACES WING AND STABILIZER:

ROLE AND STRUCTURAL LAYOUT

Hendri Syamsudin

Structure on a Typical Transport Aircraft

Ribs Rear Spar Upper Skin Frames Lower Skin

Longerons Skin

Front Spar

Ref: RJ146 Sales Brochure

Wing-Fuselage Joints

Ref: RJ146 Sales Brochure

Min Structural Components: Wing Box Arrangements


Spars Skin-Stringers Panel

Rib with an access hole

access holes on lower skin

Ref: RJ146 Sales Brochure

Spanwise Beam Concept

Various form of structure for the main span-wise beams are possible, depending upon the overall load intensities, plan-form geometry , and airframe life requirements. Most are based on the utilization of the vertical webs and outer skins to form the box beam, but there can be exception when the loading intensity is low. The span-wise beam is best constructed as one item from wing tip to wing tip, although it may be difficult to achieve this in high-performance combat aircraft having wing of low aspect ratio

Discrete (mass) Boom

In this concept the spanwise bending load is assumed to be reacted by the flanges, or boom, located at the upper and lower extremities of one or more spar

Discrete (mass) Boom


Because these discrete flanges are relatively large in cross section they are sometimes referred to as massive or mass booms. When the torsional and shear loadings are low, as they may be in light aircraft, they can be reacted by internal cross-bracing. More usually the outer skins are assumed to only react shear loads and the torsion box is formed between the front and rear spars The discrete flange arrangment enables high stresses to be developed in the flanges. It does have a problem in that the skins must be stabilised to prevent buckling under shear loads and the skin tendency to share with the spars in reacting the bending. The skin are stabilised by the introduction of numerous ribs, possibly with a few spanwise stiffeners arranged to be intercostal between the ribs. Further it is difficult to incorporate damage tolerant features in the concentrated flanges The spars may be machined as a one piece item but are more usually built up from a plate web and machined flanges to confer a degree of damage tolerance. The ribs may be assembled as braced frameworks although pressings from sheet materials are cheaper

Discrete (mass) Boom

Summarizing, the discrete flange concept is really only applicable to relatively lightly loaded structures and when used care must be taken to minimize joints and attachment to the boom members. The concept is simple to analyse. The ribs are simple to manufacture and only normally need corner cut outs to clear the spar booms. Cut outs can be made in the skins of the spanwise beam providing torsional loads are not excessive. A major cut out for landing gear stowage inboard of the main leg attachment may cause difficulty due to the high load inputs at the outer end of the cut out.

Built-up Metal Skin-Stringer Construction (distributed flange)

When the load is moderate to high it becomes practical to use the upper and lower skin between the spars to provide the main reaction of the spanwise bending. Thus the skins are made to carry the end load by supporting their cross section area with spanwise stringers or by some other means such as sandwich construction.

Built-up Metal Skin-Stringer Construction (distributed flange)


The presence of the relatively large numbers of end load carrying members greatly improves the damage tolerance of the structure. This can be further enhanced in metal structure by dividing the skins into a number of spanwise planks joined by crack stopping joint straps. The stringers may be formed, drawn, extruded, or machined depending upon the section shape and the thickness of the material. In the tension surface the stringer size and spacing are likely to be determined by cracking stopping requirements, while in the compression surface the design criterion is buckling instability. Thus the compression flange stress level is likely to be restricted by instability considerations, and fatigue requirements often place a similar limit on the tensile working stress Although the built up distributed flange, skin stringer construction can be efficient and excellent from the point of view damage tolerance, it is complex and costly to build due to the large number of individual items which go to make up the structure. There are many joints which add weight and create points of high stress where cracking may be initiated. When integral tanks are used they are difficult to seal.

Integrally Machined Metal Construction


The need to overcome the drawbacks of the separately assembled skinstringer construction led to the development of integral machining. A considerable simplification of manufacture and assembly can be achieved and with the use of numerically controlled machine tools the cost is much less than that of labour intensive hand assemblies. Integrally machined skin panels enable the stringer and skin to be tapered in an optimum way and allowance can be made for reinforcement as needed to meet the local loading.

Integrally Machined Metal Construction

Early designs of integral skins used simple blade stringer cross sections for ease of machining, but there is now little penalty in using the more nearly optimum Zed- or I- section. Sealing and joint problems are much reduced. The absence of joints stress concentrations partially compensates for the absence of the crack stopping properties obtained with built up construction. However the need to cater for damage tolerance requires the introduction of redundancy in the form of several spanwise skin planks on the tension surface. Joints must be provided between the spar webs and the covers but the load transfer can be relatively low.

Integrally Machined Metal Construction

There is a limit to the technique for large, heavily loaded, aircraft where it becomes impossible to produce the billets of material in a sufficiently large size to enable integral skin panels to be made. This difficulty is overcome by producing separate stringers which are attached by either mechanical fasteners or, possible friction stir welding.

Moulded Construction in Reinforced Plastics

In principle the application of reinforced plastic materials can be made to any of the basic structural configurations describe before. However the most efficient use of reinforced plastics occurs when mechanical joints are minimised. So the most likely approach is similar to that of integrally machined construction, with moulded assemblies replacing the machined skins, spars, and ribs. It may be possible for some stages of the assembly to be co-cured as the basic somponents are formed but final assembly often requires the use of cold bonding or mechanical fastening.

Multi-cell Construction

When the wing is very thin the depth of stringers required to stabilize the skin becomes similar to that of the cross-section and the number of spanwise shear webs has to be increased to enable the vertical shear loads to be reacted. This leads to a multi-spar, multi-cell arrangements, with the spars providing stability to the skins. If the wing is also of low aspect ratio, the configuration takes the form of an egg box arrangement with a grillage of relatively closely spaced ribs and spars. This form of construction in metal will almost certainly consist of an assembly of machined spars and ribs. In some local regions the ribs may be more heavily loaded than the spars and must be given structurally priority at the joints and at the covers.

Chordwise Location of Spars

In practice in the majority of designs there is not a great deal of scope for varying the chordwise locations of the front and rear spars. Generally the front spar should be as far forward as possible subject to:
The local wing depth being adequate to enable vertical shear loads to be reacted efficiently There is adequate nose chord space for leading edge devices and their operating mechanisms, de-icing requirements and the like. Thus the front spar of a two spar box is usually located in the region of 12-18 percent of the local chord. A single D nose main spar is likely to be located at the maximum section depth, that is, at 30-40 percent of chord.

Chordwise Location of Spars

In a two-spar construction, the rear spar should be as far aft as possible, but it is limited to being in front of trailing edge flaps, control surfaces, spoilers and their operating mechanism. Thus the rear spar is typically at 55-70 percent of the chord, with around 65 percent being most common. Any intermediate spar are usually spaced uniformly across the section except where a particular pick-up point is required for say, power plant or stores. Although there have been cases where the width of the structural box has been limited to give rise to high working stresses in the distributed flanges, and consequent good structural efficiency, this is achieved at a sacrifice of potential fuel volume. This approach is not recommended when the wing is an integral fuel tanks since the opportunity should always be taken to maximise the potential fuel volume for future development. Spar location should not be stepped in plan layout as this gives rise to offset load paths but a change of sweep at a major rib position is acceptable

Rib Location and Direction

The span-wise location of ribs is of some censequences. Ideally the rib spacing should be determined to ensure adequate overall buckling support to the distributed flanges. This requirement may be considered to give a maximum pitch of the ribs. In practice other considerations are likely to determine the actual rib locations such as:

Hinge position for control surfaces and attachment/ operating points for flaps, slats and spoilers Attachment locations of powerplants, stores, and landing gear structure A need to prevent or postpone skin local shear or compression buckling, as opposed to overall buckling. This is especially true in a mass boom form of construction End s of integral fuel tanks where a closing rib is required

Rib Location and Direction

When the wing is unswept it is usual for ribs to be arranged in the flight direction and thereby define the airfoil section. If the wing is swept there is the option of arranging the ribs aligned with the flight direction, or orthogonal to the spar direction. While the former does give greater torsional stiffness the ribs are heavier, connections are more complex, and in general the disadvantages outweigh the gains.

Rib Location and Direction

Ribs placed at right angles to the rear spar are usually the most satisfactory in facilitating hinge pick-ups, but they do cause layout problems in the root regions.

Rib Location and Direction

Some designs overcome this by fanning the ribs so that the inclination changes from perpendicular to the spars outboard to stream wise over the inboard portion of the wing. There is always the possibility of special exceptions, such as powerplants or store mounting ribs, where it may be preferable to locate them in the flight direction

Attachment of Lifting Surfaces

Continuous Carry Through Structure


Built-in

Centre wing/fuselage component

Wing

attached to fuselage by links