Finite Element Analysis and Testing of a Laminated Composite Fuselage Test Structure

by Camille A. Issa,
John C. McWhorter, III,
Robert W. Coign,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Mechanics Computing in 1990's and Beyond


A test structure modeling a full scale section of a composite aircraft fuselage was designed, analyzed, fabricated, and pressure tested. The test structure consisted of a cylindrical graphite sandwich shell, two graphite rings, a flat graphite sandwich plate bulkhead, and a hemispherical fiberglass dome. Design criteria followed those necessary for pressurized general aviation aircraft. A three dimensional finite element analysis of the fuselage test structure was done to accurately determine the strain distribution in the final assembly. The results of the finite element analysis verified the design values. The test structure was pressurized and surface strains were measured at various locations. A comparison of measured strains and finite element strains indicated reasonable agreement between the two.

Subject Headings: Finite element method | Material tests | Composite structures | Full-scale tests | Laminated materials | Structural analysis | Strain | Composite materials

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