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Research and Engineering: Aerostructures Branch
February 19, 2014

Technicians at NASA Dryden's flight loads lab install a fixture inside an engine nacelle in preparation for major structural loads tests on an E-2C Hawkeye. Technicians at NASA Armstrong's flight loads lab install a fixture inside an engine nacelle in preparation for major structural loads tests on an E-2C Hawkeye. NASA photo. The Aerostructures Branch at NASA Armstrong is a highly integrated team that covers the breadth of the airframe structures disciplines including static structures, structural dynamics, external and aerothermal loads, and hot structures. The team is also well versed in traditional and advanced structural instrumentation technologies.

The strength of the branch is its talented engineers who each have experience in analysis, ground test, and flight test. This breadth of experience allows our engineers to appreciate the advantages and limitations of each of these areas as flight projects are developed and progress from design and analysis to ground test to flight and to provide expertise to ensure safe and effective missions. The branch has resident experience in flight projects that range from extremely lightweight, high-altitude aircraft to transports and high-performance military aircraft to hypersonic vehicles.

  • Thermal/structural analysis and flight research
    • Static structural analysis
    • Aerothermal and thermal analysis
    • Flutter analysis
    • Aeroservoelastic analysis
    • External loads analysis via CFD and handbook methods
  • Flight envelope expansion (static loads and flutter)
    • Definition, use, and analysis of in-flight loads and deflection measurements
    • Structural envelope expansion planning
    • Structural hazard identification and risk management
    • Real time monitoring for safety and mission success
  • Substantial ground test capability on articles from coupons to full-scale flight vehicles
    • Ground vibration tests (GVT) on full-scale vehicles or sub- components
    • Static loads test, including instrumentation calibration and proof tests on rigid and flexible structures
    • Aerodynamic heating simulations (greater than 3000 °F) with simultaneous load capability
    • Flight Loads Lab
  • Development of advanced sensor technology for flight and ground test, including structural health monitoring
    • Photometric flight deflection measurements
    • Strain measurements on flexible structures
    • Fiber-optic strain measurements
      • Applied to ultra-lightweight aircraft and hot structures
  • Research Interests
    • Advanced structural sensor technologies for lightweight applications, structural health monitoring, structural control, and extreme temperature environments.
    • Active aeroelastic control for weight reduction and/or performance enhancement
    • Morphing structures and advanced actuation technologies
    • Hot structures and thermal protection systems for hypersonic vehicles
    • External and internal loads for advanced vehicle configurations
    • Lightweight structures with advanced materials
    • Multi-disciplinary analysis optimization

Point of Contact:
Tim Risch
Chief, Aerostructures Branch (acting)

(661) 276-6720

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Page Last Updated: March 3rd, 2014
Page Editor: Yvonne Gibbs