Faculty of Engineering

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Engineering
Organisational UnitDepartment of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
OfferedClayton Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Wenyi Yan


This unit will introduce the student to aircraft structural analysis. Concepts of load paths, equilibrium, forces/moments, stresses/strains, reaction forces and bending moments will be presented. Basic trusses and beam analysis will be used to analyse simple airframes. Students will trace the historical development of the airframe from truss-like structures to modern semi-monocoque construction and the importance of appropriate material selection. The concept of static structural equilibrium will be extended to consider 'dynamic equilibrium' through the introduction of mechanical vibrations. The last two weeks will introduce basic concepts of orbital mechanics/spaceflight followed by an introduction to rocket propulsion.


  1. To understand the evolution of the airframe to its present form and to identify all the structural components on a modern passenger or military aircraft.
  2. To be able to appreciate the importance of appropriate material selection in the design and construction of aircraft structures.
  3. To enable students to observe the structural response of representative aircraft structural components to applied loading and to undertake simple structural analysis to predict internal and reaction forces and/or displacements.
  4. To understand the difference between statically determinate and indeterminate structures.
  5. To understand the concept of structural stability.
  6. To understand the principles of mechanical vibrations and the use of available solution techniques for calculating relevant parameters.
  7. To understand the movement of satellites using Newtonian mechanics and to calculate basic orbit transfers.
  8. To be able to outline the different propulsion systems available for space flight.


Field Trip (10%), Structures laboratory (10%), Exam (80%)

Recommended reading:
Anderson, J., 'Introduction to Flight', 6th Edition, 2008, Mc Graw Hill, Singapore. [Chapter 10]
Barnard, R. H., Philpott, D. R., 'Aircraft Flight', 4th Edition, 2010, Prentice Hall, Essex, UK. [Chapter 14]
Gordon, J.E., 'Structures - or why things don't fall down', 1978, Penguin Books, London, UK
Lecture notes.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

5 contact hours per week, 7 non-contact hours per week.