MAE4408 - Damage tolerance and airworthiness - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Professor Rhys Jones

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit will explain why aircraft structures/components fail, how engineers can learn from such failure and design to prevent it. Both fundamental and applied aspects of failure of aircraft structural components will be covered. The unit will detail the damage tolerance design philosophy, and how it fits into airworthiness requirements as described in the relevant Standard (JSSG 2006). The unit focuses on how fracture mechanics principles and modern fatigue crack growth laws are used to meet JSSG2006. To illustrate the effect of cracking on service aircraft we will consider flaw growth in a range of aircraft undergoing both in-service flight loading and full scale fatigue tests.


At the successful completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. Apply principles of fracture mechanics to ensure the safety of aircraft structural components.
  2. Use modern fatigue crack growth theories and apply them to ensure the continued airworthiness of aircraft structural components.
  3. Address the way in which damage tolerant design fits into JSSG 2006.
  4. Formulate solutions to problems associated with the residual strength of cracked aircraft structural members.
  5. Analyse crack growth in aircraft structural members.


Continuous assessment: 50%

Final Examination (2 hours): 50%

Students are required to achieve at least 45% in the total continuous assessment component and at least 45% in the final examination component and an overall mark of 50% to achieve a pass grade in the unit. Students failing to achieve this requirement will be given a maximum of 45% in the unit.

Workload requirements

3 hours lectures, 2 hours practical classes or laboratories and 7 hours of private study per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)