The structure of aircraft has changed enormously over the last century, with most changes being made to aeronautical engineering. Almost every aspect of creating and designing an aircraft has changed. Changes have been made to aerodynamics, engineering, navigation aids, interior fittings and structural design. The first successful flight conducted by the Wright brothers was powered by a small light engine that wouldn’t weigh down the structure of the aircraft itself. The first jet engine, a heavier type of engine, was created and used during WWII. Since then, the structure of the aircraft has completely changed and is still changing today.
The first aircraft were designed with wire braced structures. Every component of the aircraft including the wings to the frame were constructed of wire. The plane was designed with a biplane construction and included lightweight materials such as bamboo and spruce. The era of these aircraft lasted until the 1930’s until metal structure aircrafts started dominating the market. During the 1930’s most planes were constructed with thin metal sheets and were manufactured to a monoplane design.
Today’s aircraft are mainly constructed using a semi-monocoque design. The creation of this smooth aerodynamic design was derived from the design of a yacht. The main advantage of this design is the wings being an active load-carrying member of the entire structure, instead of being an added load. This makes the entire structure multifunctional and less likely to require maintenance.
Novel designs are a design of the future. The concepts created for novel designs include only lightweight materials and are extremely fuel efficient. Researchers and aircraft experts predict it will be a long while before these concepts become a reality.
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