Editor: Sook-Ying Ho

Structural Failure Analysis and Prediction Methods for Aerospace Vehicles and Structures

eBook: US $79 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $158
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $316
ISBN: 978-1-60805-326-1 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-024-6 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2010
DOI: 10.2174/97816080502461100101


This book deals with structural failure (induced by mechanical, aerodynamic, acoustic and aero-thermal, loads, etc.) of modern aerospace vehicles, in particular high-speed aircraft, solid propellant rocket systems and hypersonic flight vehicles, where structural integrity, failure prediction and service life assessment are particularly challenging, due to the increasingly more demanding mission requirements and the use of non-traditional materials, such as non-metallic composites, in their construction. Prediction of the complex loading environment seen in high-speed operation and constitutive / fracture models which can adequately describe the non-linear behaviour exhibited by advanced alloys and composite materials are critical in analyzing the non-linear structural response of modern aerospace vehicles and structures. The state-of-the-art of the different structural integrity assessment and prediction methodologies (including non-destructive structural health monitoring techniques) used for the structural design, service life assessment and failure analysis of the different types of aerospace vehicles are presented. The chapters are written by experts from aerospace / defence research organizations and academia in the fields of solid mechanics, and structural mechanics and dynamics of aircraft, rocket and hypersonic systems. The book will serve as a useful reference document containing specialist knowledge on appropriate prediction methodologies for a given circumstance and experimental data acquired from multi-national collaborative programs.


An important engineering problem in structural design is the evaluation of structural integrity and reliability. It is well known that structural strength may be degraded during its design life due to mechanical and/or chemical aging. Depending on the structural design, material type, service loading, and environmental conditions, the cause and degree of strength degradation due to the different aging mechanisms will vary. One of the common causes of strength degradation is crack development in the structure. When cracks occur, the effects of crack size and rate of growth on the fracture resistance of the material and the remaining strength and life of the structures need to be determined.

Reliable performance of a structure in critical applications depends on ensuring that the structure in service satisfies the conditions assumed in design and life prediction analyses. Reliability assurance requires evaluation of the stress state in the structure and the material's strength allowable corresponding to a given failure criterion for a given loading condition and the availability of nondestructive testing and evaluation techniques to characterize discrete cracks according to their location, size, and orientation. This leads to an improved assessment of the potential criticality of individual flaws.

This book addresses the important topics mentioned in the above paragraphs. It covers the areas of mechanical fatigue analysis of aircraft structures under constant amplitude and spectrum loading conditions, acoustic fatigue of secondary aircraft structures, aerodynamic heating, structural integrity and service life prediction methodology of solid rocket motors, and structural health monitoring of solid rocket motors. Based on a systematic and a blended experimental and analytical approach together with extensive practical experience, methodologies were developed to (1) predict fatigue crack growth behavior and service life of aircraft structures and (2) assess the structural integrity and service life of solid rocket motors. In addition, the applicability as well as the limitations of the various methods are pointed out and examples of their practical use are given. Though the subject matter that appears in this book has been previously published by the authors elsewhere, this is the first time that the information has been presented in a consolidated manner. The implementation of these advanced technologies can increase the reliability of aircraft and rocket structures as well as significantly reduce structural repair and replacement costs. This book will prove to be of considerable value to the field of aerospace engineering both in academia and in industry. Furthermore, I believe its value will extend beyond the immediate intended reader to engineers in the shipping, automobile, tire, and construction industries who are interested in the evaluation of integrity and service life of structures.

Dr. Chi Tsieh (Jimmy) Liu
Principal Research Scientist (retired)
propulsion Directorate
Air Force Research Laboratory