UCLA Extension

Composite Airframe Structures

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February 24-27, 2020

This course introduces participants to practical hands-on information, data, and techniques for designing composite airframe structures with respect to design regulations and specifications. It covers a broad range of aircraft configurations, from transports and fighters to general aviation aircraft.

The course provides technical understanding and practical knowledge in advanced composites, emphasizing design and manufacture to achieve a sound airframe structure. All aspects of composite design are discussed in a thorough and rigorous fashion, including guidelines, observations, design factors, pros and cons of design cases, and troubleshooting techniques. The basic theory of composites and practical laminate strength (or stress) analyses are introduced to size airframe composite structures.

Another goal of this course is to give composite engineers a practical design tool that contains broad data and information gained from past experience and lessons learned in the design and fabrication of composite components. This tool can then be used to design low-cost and weight-efficient composite structures with structural integrity.

Homework assignments and quizzes are given every day in class.

Course Materials

The text, Composite Airframe Structures, Michael C.Y. Niu (Conmilit Press Ltd., Third Edition 2016), and marlecture notes are distributed on the first day of the course. The notes are for participants only and are not otherwise available for sale or unauthorized distribution

Coordinator and Lecturer

Michael C.Y. Niu, MS, President, AD Airframe Consulting Company, Granada Hills, California. Mr. Niu is a metallic and composite airframe consultant who has acquired over 35 years’ experience in aerospace and airframe structural analysis and design, and was a senior research and development engineer (management position) at Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Company. As department manager in charge of various structural programs there, he was responsible for the development of innovative metallic and composite structural design concepts applicable to current and future advanced tactical fighters and advanced transports. He also was involved in conceptual and preliminary airplane design, and was lead stress engineer responsible for the L-1011 wide-body aircraft wing and empennage structures. During 1966 and 1968 he served as stress engineer for the B727, B747, and other aircraft at The Boeing Company in Seattle. Mr. Niu is the author of Airframe Stress Analysis and Sizing (1999), Composite Airframe Structures (1992), and Airframe Structural Design (1988). He also has written Lockheed’s Composites Design Guide and Composites Drafting Handbook . He received the Lockheed Award of Achievement and Award of Product Excellence in 1973 and 1986, respectively. Mr. Niu is listed in Who’s Who in Aviation, 1973.

Daily Schedule

Day 1

Overview and Introduction
Course overview; characteristics of composites; composite pros and cons; design for low cost production; design for durability; certification of composite airframe.

Material Selection
Reinforcements; organic matrices; metal matrix composites; non-organic matrices; material forms.

Metallic tooling; non-metallic tooling; master tooling; elastomeric tooling; expendable mandrels; curing systems; tooling design considerations.

Day 2

Manufacturing guidelines and practices; placements; bagging systems; molding; thermoforming; hot-melt process; pultrusion; resin transfer Molding (rtM); sandwich; hybridized fabrication; cutting and machining.

Moisture and temperature effect; lightning strike; galvanic corrosion; chemical effect.

Fastener information; mechanical fastening; bonding; co-curing joining; dual-resin bonding; welding; composite-to-metal splice joining; special joining design cases; design considerations.

Day 3

Damage Tolerance
Effects of impact, damage tolerance criteria; types of damage; methods for improving damage tolerance; crashworthiness.

Laminate Design Practices
Material allowable; laminate strength; types of panels; delamination; preliminary sizing; design considerations.

Types of testing; coupon tests; element and component tests; test set-up; verification full-scale tests.

Day 4

Quality Assurance
Materials; types of defects; NDI methods; design for inspection to reduce cost.

Composite Applications
transport aircraft; military aircraft.

Current Design Cases
All-composite executive aircraft; all-composite kit aircraft.

Design Concepts
Innovative design approaches and goal; fiber continuity concept; modular concept; co-cure joining method; co-cure structural assembly; fastenerless design concept; hybrid concept.

Bolted repair, bonded repair, honeycomb repair.

For more information contact the Short Course Program Office:
shortcourses@uclaextension.edu | (310) 825-3858