Structural Design Concepts (Some NASA Contributions),
PITTSBURGH UNIV PA
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As man pushes back the frontiers of high speed flight, changes in structural design requirements necessitate the development of new materials. During the last few years, material and structural engineers have solved many formidable problems in ways that have led to significant changes in the design process itself. They have been able to develop new materials and designs without sacrificing structural weight to gross operating weight ratios. In fact, these ratios are generally comparable to, or in many cases better than, those for slower vehicles. This new knowledge and experience are providing a firm foundation for the design of structures to meet individual as well as space requirements. This survey has three main aims 1 to identify for those in the field of structural design the contributions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA and the programs it has sponsored 2 to describe the development of construction materials associated with these advances and 3 to suggest, by examples, some of the applications in which they may be used. The survey covers structural types including material systems, structural concepts, and structural design synthesis and optimization. While the analyst may not find this approach as sophisticated as the designer will, lie may gain from it some insight into the development of new structural design concepts. The degree to which these and other developments ultimately are utilized commercially depends on the foresight and ingenuity of structural designers. Selection of materials and structural design to meet specific performance requirements is a complex problem. Each configuration and each part of the configuration must be examined and analyzed to provide the best possible structure for each application.