how are airplane wings attached to the fuselage?
How are Airplane Wings attached to the Fuselage?
Aircraft wings are complex structures that provide a means of propulsion and the necessary lift for flight, allowing aircraft to traverse the sky with ease. Wings are typically attached to the top of the fuselage, mid-fuselage, or at the bottom. Generally, the most common attachment style includes the use of a lug which helps to attach the wing with the fuselage. Here, the bending moment and shear loads from the wing to the fuselage structures are transferred through the lug structure.
This attachment is achieved by a series of pinned lugs between the wing side of the wing box and the fuselage. There are a total of four lugs, two of which are located at the front spars and two at the rear spar. Furthermore, the wings may extend perpendicularly with relation to the horizontal plane of the fuselage or can be angled in an upward or downward direction. This angle is called the wing dihedral, and it affects the lateral stability of the aircraft.
While wings are designed with lift-producing characteristics in mind, their design primarily depends on other specifications, such as an aircraft’s size, weight, preferred speed, use, and desired rate of climb. Each wing is also designated as left or right, corresponding to the left and right sides of the operator when seated in the cockpit. Some wings may even have a full cantilever design, meaning that they are built without the need for external bracing.
Cantilever wings are designed to be supported internally by structural members assisted by the aircraft skin. Some aircraft may also utilize external struts or wires to support the wing by carrying aerodynamic and landing loads. Wing support cables and struts are commonly made of steel for additional durability. Moreover, many struts and their attachment fittings are furnished with fairings to reduce drag.
Short, nearly vertical supports called jury struts are found on struts that attach to wings a lengthy distance from the fuselage. This configuration subdues strut movement and oscillation resulting from the air flowing around the strut in flight. In terms of materials used for wing construction, aluminum is popularly used, but some manufacturers opt for wooden structures covered with fabric or materials made from magnesium alloys.
Today, modern commercial aircraft are using lighter and stronger materials throughout the airframe and for wing construction. For example, carbon fiber or other composite materials may be used to maximize strength to weight performance. Meanwhile, the internal structures of most wings are composed of spars running spanwise, stringers running along the ribs, and formers or bulkheads chordwise. The spars support all distributed loads, as well as the weight of the fuselage, rudder and elevator, and engines.
Wing Construction Designs
The skin, which is attached to the wing structure, bears a part of the loads imposed during flight. Furthermore, it transfers stresses to other structures like the wing ribs which transfer the loads to the wing spars. Generally, wing construction is based on one of three basic designs, those of which are monospar, multispar, and box beam.
The monospar wing utilizes one main spanwise or longitudinal member in its construction. Ribs and bulkheads provide the necessary shape to the airfoil, and this design may be modified by the addition of false spars or light shear webs along the trailing edge for the support of control surfaces. Meanwhile, multispar wings incorporate multiple main longitudinal members, ribs, or bulkheads to supply the wing contour.
On the other hand, the construction of box beam wings use two main longitudinal members with connecting bulkheads to provide additional strength and contour to the wing. A corrugated sheet can also be wedged between the bulkheads and the smooth outer skin, allowing the wing to carry tension and compression loads more easily. In some instances, heavy longitudinal stiffeners can be used in the place of corrugated sheets.
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