Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

How to size stiffeners?

How to size stiffeners?

How to size stiffeners?

Let's say I have an aluminum skin, carrying a compressive load over distance "a" from frame to frame, and supported by longitudinal stiffeners equally spaced at width "b". I am sizing everything, having the required loading in lb/in. After selecting a skin thickness I can get the buckling stress of the skin based on the dimensions "a" and "b", assuming that all sides are simply supported (Bruhn chapter C5). How do I size the stiffeners? I know to check for crippling, but there must also be some minimum moment of inertia for the stiffener to provide a simple support, below which it is no longer effective at restraining the skin. Bruhn offers such an equation for stiffening a shear web in equation C10.8, but I can find nothing in Bruhn or our OEM manuals on sizing a stiffener for a panel under compression, or combined shear/compression. Can anyone offer help or point me to a reference?

RE: How to size stiffeners?

Stiffeners are sized to a) prevent overall panel buckling (not the skin between stiffeners), b) carry the panel compression loads when the skin is buckled (see effective width section in Bruhn), c) provide arrestment of skin cracks/cuts (damage tolerance analysis).

RE: How to size stiffeners?

as above, the effective skin works with the stiffener to resist the compression loads. crippling (and long column) strength of the stringer (and skin) needs to exceed the applied compression.

remember the skin can buckle in shear (diagonal tension) and this adds load into the stringer.

you are correct … there should be some design guidance about stiffener size verses skin thickness … a small stiffener on a heavy skin won't support the skin (this may be in the diagonal tension section (since it relates to the ability of the stiffener to resist the skin shear buckle.

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: How to size stiffeners?

These may be of some assistance:

Comparison of Three Methods for Calculating the Compressive Strength of Flat and Slightly Curved Sheet and Stiffener Combinations

Preliminary analysis techniques for ring and stringer stiffened cylindrical shells

NACA TN 3781, 3782, 3783, 3784, 3785. & 3786
Handbook of Structural Stability (inc. Compressive Strength of Flat Stiffened Panels)

There is also a very nice treatment in Theory and Analysis of Flight Structures Robert Rivello
Pages 479-500

I am assuming since it seems like the driving factor for your design is compressive strength, you are not in an area of appreciable tensile stress and so you are not concerned as much with things like residual strength of a cracked panel ie load shedding to substructure. However, this is simply an assumption - there are areas of a fuselage which see both tension and compression during a GAG cycle and crack buckling can be a real concern. So if you need to look at multi-element damage this would be a different ball game.

Keep em' Flying
//Fight Corrosion!

RE: How to size stiffeners?

I'd've thought Niu would've had some guidance (for sizing stiffeners).

Are you looking at wing or fuselage stiffeners ?

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: How to size stiffeners?

I'm in the maintenance world where we usually design to original capability, but am working on a small mod now where I can't keep the original geometry. This particular panel is mostly shear/tension loaded, but it got me thinking that I don't know how to size stuff if it were a compression panel! Which is why I'm asking. I don't have Niu's book but will see if I can find a copy.

So the best I can tell, the process would be:

- Determine target design stress and sketch initial geometry to match this
- Calculate section properties to include the stiffener plus the effective skin width at the design stress (or 1/2 distance to next stiffener if skin is fully effective). Use this section for the following two calculations.
- Column buckling analysis, with length being from frame to frame, pin-ended (or whatever restraint I feel best), and considering eccentric loading if the stiffener runs out rather than attaching to the frame
- Crippling analysis
- Skin buckling analysis if no buckling is allowed (for us it is generally not allowed at limit load), typically assuming simply supported at frames and stiffeners
- Repeat process until everything has suitable margin of safety

Is this correct? Am I missing anything?

RE: How to size stiffeners?

i'm in the mod world too. I get where you're coming from … "equivalent strength".

Your basic problem is that you don't know any detail stresses. The best we can do (IMHO) is
1) calc the allowable stress for the pre-mod panel,
2) assume the load is the pre-mod allowable, (this isn't as easy as it sounds !?),
3) calc load redistribution caused by your mod,
4) reinforce the structure to handle these loads (lick o'paint).

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: How to size stiffeners?

Niu Chap. 14 "Compression Panels" will be your go to reference for sizing panels (skin as well as stiffeners).

>> considering eccentric loading if the stiffener runs out rather than attaching to the frame.
Could you elaborate on the above?

I'd think it would be wise to go through Flabel just to determine & be informed when effective width contribution from skin would be a valid consideration (or not). IIRC, it depends on the inter-rivet spacing and thus the buckling strength. Usually, the spacing is such that the effective skin area contribution would be effective, but from a knowledge perspective, it would be helpful to learn on how to determine the above.

Lastly, on your current mod issue, how are you sizing your stiffeners & skin if they are loaded in tension+shear? I have go through Bruhn or other reference books again, but I do not recall seeing any kind of MS interaction equation for shear & tension combined loading.

RE: How to size stiffeners?

am answering my own question. Bruhn C9.5 gives MS interaction equation for curved sheet panels under combined action of shear & compression. If axial load is tension instead of compression, Bruhn recommends adding a negative sign but still use compression allowable.

RE: How to size stiffeners?

Sdar - yes, you are missing the damage tolerance analysis.

RE: How to size stiffeners?

Quote (sdar79)

Am I missing anything?

And shear buckling. Bruhn C5, IIRC
If your cut-out is aft of the spar, there's always shear from torsion (the rudder).
Fuselage bending gives you shear on the sides (particularly around windows and doors).
If you track down a copy of Niu, you can look at Chapter 6 on "large cutouts", in addition to the chapters referenced already.

No one believes the theory except the one who developed it. Everyone believes the experiment except the one who ran it.

RE: How to size stiffeners?

Hey all, I was able to find someone with a copy of Niu. Specifically chapter 14 held what I was looking for. Turns out, our OEM manuals do have a procedure for each of the individual steps, but had nothing which say "do these steps when designing a stiffener", which is where Niu was very helpful.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close