3.3.6 Main Takeaways on Stiffened Shells

Course subject(s) Module 3. Aerospace Structures

When aircraft evolved from trusses as primary load bearing structure to sheet materials, the issue of stiffening the sheet material arose.

There are two main options:

External Stiffening: attaching some sort of stiffening to the sheet material to add sufficient strength and stiffness. Examples are stringers, stiffeners and longerons and they come in many different shapes and sizes.

  • Its advantages are: easy to manufacture, cheap to join
  • Its disadvantages are: inspectability, high number of parts, intersections with other structural elements

Monocoque structures: a structure made out of one piece either a panel machined out of one piece or a sandwich panel.

  • Its advantages are: no stringers needed, smooth structure, high bending stiffness
  • Its disadvantages are: difficult to repair, complex and expensive to join, corrosion (metal),  delamination (composites)

[photos by Saunders-Smits, 2018]

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