Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Eric D. Swenson, PhD


This study was focused on obtaining accurate experimental data for the validation of the geometrically exact beam theory from a series of experiments in which high quality surface shape and deflection data was collected. Many previous experiments have experienced issues with data collection or test articles which the researchers were unable to overcome. The test program was performed in two stages: qualification and joined-wing. The qualification stage validated the experimental procedures on simple 72 in long aluminum beams with 8 in x 0.5 in cross-sections. The joined-wing stage was the primary experiment focused on obtaining quality data for use in validation and each joined-wing had an overall length of 57 in. The fore wing was designed with a chord of 8 in and a thickness of 0.5 in; the aft wing was designed with a chord of 6 in and a thickness of 0.5 in. These dimensions were chosen so the joined-wing produced a non-linear bend-twist couple before permanent deformation. The bend-twist couple in a solid cross-section aluminum joined-wing was successfully captured with surface shape, deflection points, and strain data.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number