Investigation of stiffener and skin interactions for pressure loaded panels

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This investigation was aimed at understanding the global and local strain and deflection responses of stiffened skins. Global deformations of the stiffened skins, under load, produce high local stresses in the interface region between the stiffener and skin. Test panels were designed to study the stiffener and skin interactions using parameters typical of stiffened skins for aircraft fuselages. A total of six panels were tested. Two skin laminates, both 0.04 in. thick, and three stiffener configurations were studied. The panels, having clamped edge boundary conditions, were subjected to pressure loads of up to 14.5-14.8 psi. Out-of-plane deflections and longitudinal and transverse strains were measured in several locations. The deflection responses showed a strongly nonlinear behavior at pressure loads of less than 5 psi. In addition relatively severe gradients of both longitudinal and transverse strains were measured in the interface region of the stiffener and skin. Finite element models incorporating geometric nonlinearities were made of four of the panels. Results of these models substantiated the overall findings of the experimental measurements.