Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Robert A. Canfield, PhD


This research investigated two aspects of the aft wing structure of a joined wing SensorCraft. First, the efficacy of a novel approach for incorporating wing twist for pitch control was analyzed. This design involved adding a spanwise sliding joint into the wing structure at the lower aft spar of the vehicle's aft wing. Second, the joint section where the forward and aft wings connect and form the outboard wing was redesigned and analyzed to improve the load transmission between the wing spars. Using MSC.NASTRAN, linear and non-linear static analyses were performed to examine the efficiency of the wing twist sliding joint and the forces required to achieve sufficient angular deflections for control. MSC.Patran was then used to perform post-processing of the raw data. Several variations of sliding joint location and composite ply angles were conducted. The sliding joint produced marked improvement in angular deflection over the baseline configuration. Surprisingly, however, ply angle did not have a large effect on the resulting deflections. Additional sliding joints incorporated into the wing structure produced no notable improvements in the obtained deflections either. Although the strain induced into the structure by the aft wing twist was on the order of the aerodynamic forces alone, the force required to twist the wing was significantly reduced by adding the slit in all cases. Flutter speed did not differ notably by the addition of the slit into the aft wing, yet some reduction in buckling strength was noted. The redesigned joint planform does appear to recover some of the buckling resistance lost due to the slit.

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