Term of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Name

Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Mosfequr Rahman

Committee Member 1

Marcel Ilie

Committee Member 2

Valentin Soloiu


This study seeks to develop and evaluate a novel design of mass reduced aircraft wing ribs through the topology optimization method. For comparison, the same examination is performed on ribs with normal internal geometry. The wing rib design is based on that of the Gulfstream G650 transonic jet. The rib was divided into three segments for analysis based around the positions of the two spars. Only the center section of the rib (that being between the forward and aft spars) is mass optimized, while the leading and trailing edges of the ribs (outside the spars) will be kept solid for this experiment. Methodology for this thesis includes the k-Ω shear stress transport turbulence model computational fluid dynamic simulation as well as static and transient finite element simulations. Solution metrics include mass reduction percentage, surface pressure, deformation, stress, and strain on the wing model. The optimized wing rib was found to be between 8% and 15% lighter than traditional wing ribs depending on configuration Simulation of the wing showed a tip deflection of 13.8cm upward at an angle of 1.1 degrees. A physical scale model of the optimized wing was subjected to near identical bending loads of 1.1 degrees as identified in the FEA simulation to validate stress concentrations and performance. It was found that in the simulations, average stress never exceeded the factor of safety prescribed by the FAA. The average factor of safety on the full computational model was 2.649. The average factor of safety on the experimental model was 9.185. Four strain gauges attached to the experimental model were used to compare strains at similar locations on the computational model. The highest level of precision was found on the first strain gauge, with a percentage difference of 0.124%.

Research Data and Supplementary Material