Aerospace Structures

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Aerospace Structures

  • Host University

    Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Aerospace Engineering

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    We strongly advise you not to take this course if you have not passed Physics I , Introduction to Mechanics of Flight and Introduction to structural analysis.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Aerospace Structures
    Course Number: 251 - 15341
    ECTS credits: 6
    YEAR 3/ Upper Division

    We strongly advise you not to take this course if you have not passed Physics I , Introduction to Mechanics of Flight and Introduction to structural analysis.


    Knowledge of the basic tools for the calculation of thin-walled beams, that provide to the student the ability to design structural components of the aerospace industry.
    Acquisition of the technological knowledge needed to calculate bidimensional structural elements used in aerospace structures.
    Knowledge of the basics of the design of structures made of composite materials, including composite laminates and sandwich structures, which are widely used in aerospace industry.
    Familiarity with the fundamentals of the design of the main structural elements and systems used in aircrafts.
    Ability to use specific software to analyse, design and calculation of structural elements, developing a critical awareness.


    Chapter 1.    Structures in the aerospace and aeronautical sector
    Subject 1. Structural description of the aircraft
    ­    1.1 Loads on aircraft structures
    ­    1.2 Function of structural components
    ­    1.3 Wing structure
    ­    1.4 Fuselage structure
    ­    1.5 Stabilizers structure
    ­    1.6 Helicopter structure
    Subject  2. Structures in the aeronautical sector
    ­    2.1 Frame and truss structures
    ­    2.2 Space structures
    ­    2.3. Future trends

    Chapter 2.    Bending, shear and torsion of thin-walled beams
    Subject 3 and 4.    Bending and shear of open and closed, thin-walled beams
    ­    3.1 Kinematic hypothesis
    ­    3.2 Shear of open section beams
    ­    3.3 Shear of closed section beams
    ­    3.4 Shear centre
    Subject 5.    Torsion of beams
    ­    5.1 Torsion of closed section beams
    ­    5.2 Torsion of open section beams
    Subject 6.    Torsion on multiple-cell thin-walled beams
    ­    6.1 Torsion of multiple-cell closed section beams
    ­    6.2 Torsion of multiple-cell open section beams

    Chapter 3. Plates and Shells
    Subject 7 and 8.    Bending of thin plates
    ­    7. 1 Kinematic
    ­    7.2 Plates subjected to a distributed transverse loads
    ­    7.3 Plates subjected to bending and twisting

    Subject 9 and 10. Shells
    ­    9.1 Hypotheses
            9.2 Thin shells subjected to in-plane loads
            9.3 Thin shells subjected to bending loads

    Chapter 4.    Laminate and sandwich structures
    Subject 11.    Theory of laminate
    ­    11.1 Kinematic
    ­    11.2 Orthotropic constitutive equations
    ­    11.3 Classical and first-order theories of laminate composites
    ­    11.4 Failure criteria
    Subject 12.    Composite beams and plates
    ­    12.1 Composite beams subjected to bending
    ­    12.2 Composite thin-walled cross-section beams
    ­    12.3 Bending of composite plates
    Subject 13.    Sandwich structures
    ­    13.1 Basic sandwich theory
    ­    13.2 Sandwich beams
    ­    13.3 Sandwich plates


    In each week one lecture session (master class) and one practical session (in reduced groups) will be taught. The first is geared to the acquisition of theoretical knowledge, and the second to the acquisition of practical skills related to theoretical concepts. Additionally, students will complement the classes with work at home, using material provided on Aula Global.

    In addition to these sessions, four laboratory practical sessions in reduced groups (maximum 20 students) will be impart. These practices are mandatory.

    At the end of the semester tutorial session will be held. Students also have the possibility of individual tutorials.


    Final exam (mandatory): 60%
    Continuum assessment: 40%
    - Laboratory report: 20%
    - Evaluation tests: 20%
    If the mark obtained in the final exam is lower than 4.5, the final mark of the student will be computed only with the final exam.

        Barbero E.J.. Introduction to composite materials. Taylor and Francis. 1999
        Megson, T.H.G.. Aircraft structures for engineering students. Elsevier. 2007
        Timoshenko, S.P.. Theory of plates and shells. McGraw Hill. 1st ed. 1940

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.


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