Design, Optimization and Manufacturing of Metallic Wings of Light Aircraft

Vittorio Cipolla, Vincenzo Binante, Angelo Nardone


Most of the wing structures of modern leisure and sport aircraft, such as LSA, VLA, ultralights, etc., are made of composite materials.

These latter allow for high surface quality and lower costs, if compared to metallic solutions with conventional riveted technology, which would be adopted as production volumes are small. Assuming a greater production volume, proper of an industrial production, the metallic solution can become a viable alternative considering an automatic welding technology, instead of riveted junctions. Although welded solutions bring with them issues in terms of fatigue resistance, the low wing loading typical of LSA/VLA allows to mitigate the mass increase and to obtain a proper design. This paper shows how wing structures made of light metallic alloys with welded junctions could be a feasible solution, presenting some results related to the design of an innovative light amphibian object of study within the research project "IDINTOS".

The activities here presented concern the optimization methodology for the design of metallic wing structures, the detail design through Finite Element Methods and the set-up of a technology demonstrator of the manufacturing process.


Welding, Wing structures, Optimization

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