This thesis presents a new modeling framework and application methodology for the study of aircraft structures. The framework provides a ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach to structural analysis of a component, where structural integrity encompasses all phases of its lifespan.
The methodology examines the holistic structural design of aircraft components by integrating fatigue and damage tolerance methodologies. It accomplishes this by marrying the load inputs from a fatigue analysis for new design, into a risk analysis for an existing design. The risk analysis incorporates the variability found from literature, including recorded defects, loadings, and material properties.
The methodology is verified via formal conceptualization of the structures, which are demonstrated on an actual hydraulic accumulator and an engine nacelle inlet. The
hydraulic accumulator is examined for structural integrity utilizing different base materials undergoing variable amplitude loading. Integrity is accomplished through a
risk analysis by means of fault tree analysis. The engine nacelle inlet uses the damage tolerance philosophy for a sonic fatigue condition undergoing both constant amplitude
loading and a theoretical flight design case. Residual strength changes are examined throughout crack growth, where structural integrity is accomplished through a risk
analysis of component strength versus probability of failure.
Both methodologies can be applied to nearly any structural application, not
necessarily limited to aerospace.