Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Arnold Deffo

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The structural design of flight vehicles is a balancing act between maximizing loading capability while minimizing weight. An engineer must consider not only the classical static structural yielding failure of a vehicle, but a variety of ways in which structural deformations can in turn, affect the loading conditions driving those deformations. Lift redistribution, divergence, and flutter are exactly such dynamic aeroelastic phenomena that must be properly characterized during the design of a vehicle; to do otherwise is to risk catastrophe. Relevant within the university context is the design of small-scale aircraft for student projects and of particular consideration, the DBF competition hosted by AIAA. This work implements a variety of aeroelastic analysis methods: K and PK with Theodorsen aerodynamics via Matlab, NASA EZASE, and the FEMAP NX NASTRAN Aeroelasticity Package. These techniques are applied to a number of baseline test cases in addition to two representative DBF wings. Both wings considered ultimately indicated stability within reasonable flight conditions, although each for a different reason. Analysis results for the Cal Poly 2020 wing, a spar-rib construction emblematic of the collocation design approach, showed that the wing was stable within expected flight regions. The USC 2020 wing model, a composite top spar construction, exhibited unstable behavior, however this was well outside the scope of expected flight conditions. The codebase developed as a part of this work will serve as a foundation for future student teams to perform aeroelastic analyses of their own and support continued aeroelastic research at Cal Poly - SLO.