Student Work

Structural Analysis and Design of the Aircraft Wing

Public Deposited

This paper investigates the static structural properties of a proposed remote-controlled (RC) aircraft design. The research begins with an overview of the previous designs, and suggests updated design suggestions based on the data received through simulations. These simulations include ANSYS Workbench deflection tests and applied 2D beam theory, and culminate in design updates using the data obtained and the knowledge of the original team’s constraints. This project began with an overview of fundamental 2D beam theory, which was used to calculate the theoretical forces and deflections acting on an aircraft wing. Two loading conditions were examined- one representing a point force at the tip of the aircraft wing, and the other representing a sinusoidal load across the entirety of the aircraft wing. Through 2D beam theory, theoretical calculations were established, and were then used to compare to both experimental and virtual modeling data. Once theoretical values had been established, a model of the carbon fiber rods and the aircraft wing were loaded into ANSYS Workbench 2022 to obtain a finite element analysis (FEA) of the predicted loads. These boundary and loading conditions were kept the same between the theoretical and the FEA model, and these results were used to compare the strength of the aircraft wing. A convergence study of the FEA models was also conducted to confirm the accuracy of the models. Finally, these results were compiled into design recommendations to improve the structural stability of the aircraft wing. There are four recommendations for the design of the aircraft wing. The first recommendation is to use solid carbon fiber rods rather than hollow rods to increase the flexural stability of the wing and increase the potential loading of the rod and wing combined. The second recommendation is to increase the number of carbon fiber rods running through the wings to disperse the applied load further. The third recommendation is to use balsa wood ribs instead of traditional plywood, which would mitigate the weight of the aircraft wing while providing increased stability for the rods during flight. The third and final recommendation is to consider the use of spar caps on either side of the wing to provide more support throughout the carbon fiber rods, and to better secure the rods to prevent unnecessary vibration during flight.

  • This report represents the work of one or more WPI undergraduate students submitted to the faculty as evidence of completion of a degree requirement. WPI routinely publishes these reports on its website without editorial or peer review.
  • E-project-081123-130922
  • 112695
  • 2023
Date created
  • 2023-08-11
Resource type
  • E-project-081123-130922
Rights statement
Last modified
  • 2023-08-22


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