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Manufacturing And Testing In Support Of Aerospace Structural Design Projects

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.438.1 - 5.438.14



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Paper Authors

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Bryan L. Gassaway

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Masoud Rais-Rohani

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

Session 3425

Manufacturing and Testing in Support of Aerospace Structural Design Projects Masoud Rais-Rohani, Bryan Gassaway Mississippi State University


This paper describes the experience with two projects conducted by students in the senior Aerospace Structural Design course in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University. One project involved the design, fabrication, and testing of columns with unstable cross sections while the other involved the design, optimization, fabrication, and testing of stiffened panels under axial compression. An overview of each project, the specific activities performed by the students, and the lessons learned in the process are described in this paper.

I. Introduction

Design experience has traditionally been identified as an important component of engineering education. The engineering faculty and administrators are constantly reminded by industry about the importance of design and the need for students to learn about various elements that collectively constitute a good product design. The primary complaint is that most engineering graduates propose product designs that cannot be produced, and that their knowledge about manufacturing and the importance of cost in product development is minimal at best.

The universities and colleges are forced to comply with the demands of various constituencies, which are often in conflict. While industry would prefer engineers with greater understanding of all facets of product design and development, graduate programs favor students with greater scientific skills, as thesis and dissertation topics have become more and more theoretical and computational in scope.

In view of these concerns, the curriculum of the Aerospace Structural Design course was modified to include topics related to manufacture of aircraft structures. At present, four lectures are devoted entirely to the discussion of various design paradigms, such as design for manufacture and assembly, design to/for cost, integrated product and process development, etc., highlighting the importance of early design decisions on manufacturability, cost, and overall product quality. In addition, many of the assignments include design problems that require the students to propose alternatives that would result in a better performance at a lower cost.

The issues related to manufacturing and cost are addressed in this course by focusing primarily on designer-controlled elements that influence product design complexity, efficiency, and quality. Many of these issues have been a subject of research by the first author1-3 for several years, and have made a natural transition from research to education arena.

The design activities culminate in this course with a fairly comprehensive design project with design analysis, manufacturing, and testing making up its major components. The hands-on

Gassaway, B. L., & Rais-Rohani, M. (2000, June), Manufacturing And Testing In Support Of Aerospace Structural Design Projects Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8548

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