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Innovative Teaching Of Aircraft Stress Analysis And Design Courses Mathematica In An Engineering Education Environment

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

DEED Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.770.1 - 10.770.11



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Paper Authors

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Zafer Gurdal

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Jan Hol

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Gillian Saunders-Smits

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1725

Innovative Teaching of Aircraft Structural Analysis and Design Courses - Mathematica in an Engineering Education Environment

Gillian N. Saunders-Smits, Zafer Gürdal, Jan Hol,

Aerospace Structures Faculty of Aerospace Engineering Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

INTRODUCTION This paper reports on a new course on aircraft structural analysis and design in the second year of the BSc curriculum at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The course is aimed at improving the understanding of the design drivers in structures as well as increasing the student's motivation in undertaking structural design. It bridges the gap between the basic mechanics knowledge and its application as foundation for advanced mathematical models such as Finite Element codes used in modern design environments. Already established knowledge of elementary mechanics equations of deformable structures as taught in the first year of the BSc curriculum are used to develop discretized equivalent numerical models of components for design configurations of statically determinate and indeterminate structural problems. The engineering tool Mathematica which provides state of the art symbolic and numerical solution techniques with graphical representation facilities embedded in text and equation handling capabilities within an integrated notebook environment, is used as an integral part of the course delivery.


Design education in the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) starts with the first year courses. In their first year, students are required to take a simple structural design project of 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System, 1 ECTS = 25-30 hrs) as described in reference 1. This project consists of the design to specification, the building, and the testing of a box-beam for a wing or a satellite. The boxes are made of aluminum sheets and pre-pressed aluminum ribs and L-shaped stiffeners. Students are free to vary the rivet-, rib- and stringer pitch of their design based on their calculations using basic mechanics of materials knowledge and simplified buckling formulae. The satellite box is then used to measure its eigenfrequencies, and both the wing box and the satellite box are then loaded till failure. Prizes are awarded for the best designs.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Gurdal, Z., & Hol, J., & Saunders-Smits, G. (2005, June), Innovative Teaching Of Aircraft Stress Analysis And Design Courses Mathematica In An Engineering Education Environment Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14177

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