Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

High Energy Wide Area Blunt Impact of Composite Aircraft Structures—Part A: Design and Analysis Methodology of Representative Substructure



Large test structures, common in the aerospace industry, offer a challenge to model, manufacture and test, with high cost associated with computational as well as materials, specimen fabrication, test planning/setup, and instrumentation resources. In this paper, a methodology is presented to demonstrate use of a smaller-sized substructure to produce equivalent response to the original, larger structure. The structure under study is a quarter barrel of typical commercial aircraft fuselage section made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), initially consisting of two circumferential structural members (C-frames and shear ties), and 12 stringers cocured to the skin. Through a series of finite element analyses and a modified specimen design, a substructure representing the quarter barrel was validated for loading conditions generated by high energy wide area blunt impacts (HEWABI) which are potentially caused by accidental contact from moving ground service equipment (GSE). The substructure is made of one circumferential member (C-frame and shear tie), and 6 stringers co-cured to skin and is shown to have similar stiffness and stresses in the region of interest. Finite element analysis (FEA) with progressive damage analysis demonstrates the equivalent response between the substructure and full quarter barrel. This methodology can be used in a wide range of applications, as long as the loading area is distant enough from the modified structure end and the correct boundary conditions/fixtures are defined to represent the omitted portions of the structure of interest.


Full Text:



Breuer UP. Commercial aircraft composite technology, 2018. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-31918-6.

Jones RM. Mechanics of Composite Materials, 2nd edition.1999.

Edgar Turner. The Birth of the 787 Dreamliner, Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2013.

Hale J. “Boeing 787 from the Ground Up.” Aero 2006; (4):16–23.

DeFrancisci GK. “High Energy Wide Area Blunt Impact on Composite Aircraft Structures.”

Mikulik Z, and Haase P. CODAMEIN - Composite damage metrics and inspection (high energy

blunt impact threat), 2012.

Wenner CA, and Drury CG. “Analyzing human error in aircraft ground damage incidents.” Int.

J. Ind. Ergon. 2000; 26(2):177–199.

States U, and Accountability G. “Status of FAA ’ s Actions to Oversee the Safety of Composite

Airplanes.” 2011.


challenges in non-destructive testing of aircraft composite structures.” Chinese J. Aeronaut.

; 33(3):771–791.

Chen ZM. “Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Wide Area Blunt Impact Damage to

Composite Aircraft Structures.” 2015.

Heimbs S, Hoffmann M, Waimer M et al. “Dynamic testing and modelling of composite

fuselage frames and fasteners for aircraft crash simulations.” Int. J. Crashworthiness 2013.


Nam M. “High Energy Wide Area Blunt Impact Damage to Internal Structural Components of

Composite Aircraft Fuselage Structures.” 2021.

Zou D, Haack C, Bishop P, and Bezabeh A. “Damage criticality and inspection concerns of

composite-metallic aircraft structures under blunt impact.” SPIE 9437, 2015; 9437(April


Fish J, and Shek K. “Multiscale analysis of composite materials and structures.” Compos. Sci.

Technol. 2000; 60(12–13):2547–2556.

Li H, and Duarte CA. “A Two-Scale Generalized Finite Element Method for Parallel

Simulations of Spot Welds in Large Structures.” 2017:1–44.

Voleti SR, Chandra N, and Miller JR. “Global-local analysis of large-scale composite tructures

using finite element methods.” Comput. Struct. 1996. doi:10.1016/0045-7949(95)00172-D.

Nam M, Wiggers de Souza C, and Kim H. “High Energy Wide Area Blunt Impact of

Composite Aircraft Structures - Part B: Testing and Internal Damage Modes.” Am. Soc.

Compos. - Thirty Sixth Tech. Conf., 2021.

Kim H, Wiggers de Souza C, and Nam M. Structural Tests of Full-Scale Composite AirframeRepresentative

Structure under Blunt Loading Simulating High-Energy Wide Area Blunt

Impact (HEWABI) by Ground Service Equipment, 2020. doi:

Baker AA, and Wang J. Adhesively Bonded Repair/Reinforcement of Metallic Airframe

Components: Materials, Processes, Design and Proposed Through-Life Management, Elsevier

Ltd., 2017. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-100540-8.00006-6.

Phillips BJ. “Multidisciplinary Optimization of a CFRP Wing Cover.” Cranf. Univ. 2009;


Abaqus. “Abaqus 6.13 Analysis User’s Guide Volume III: Materials.” 2013.

Ogden RW. “Large Deformation Isotropic Elasticity - On the Correlation of Theory and

Experiment for Incompressible Rubberlike Solids.” 1972:565–584.

Woo CS, Park HS, and Kim WD. “The Effect of Maximum Strain on Fatigue Life Prediction

for Natural Rubber Material.” 2013; 7(4):621–626.

Pancheri FQ, and Dorfmann L. “Strain controlled biaxial stretch: An experimental

characterization of natural rubber.” .

Bergstrom JS. “Large strain time-dependent behavior of elastometric materials.” 1999.

Hashin Z. “Failure criteria for unidirectional fiber composites.” J. Appl. Mech. Trans. ASME

; 47(2):329–334.

Hashin Z, and Rotem A. “A Fatigue Failure Criterion for Fiber Reinforced Materials.” J.

Compos. Mater. 1973; 7(4):448–464.


  • There are currently no refbacks.