Course Title: Aircraft Structural Integrity

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Aircraft Structural Integrity

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015

Course Coordinator: Dr Jose Silva

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 8019

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: City Campus

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Aerospace Structures (AERO2359), or equivalent

Course Description

This course aims to further the skills of aerospace professional engineers in the area of aircraft structural integrity, covering fundamentals of fracture mechanics, fatigue and its associated damage growth processes in aircraft structures. You will be presented with an introduction to the stress analyses of cracked aircraft components. In addition, you will be exposed to different fatigue design methodologies, fatigue-crack growth processes and other forms of ruin mechanisms affecting aircraft components, as well as the application of numerical methods to determine the stress field in cracked bodies.  You will learn the principles and applications of different techniques used to mitigate and control the damage evolution in aircraft structures. In addition, you will be introduced to the importance of the implementation of structural integrity management programs within the civil and military aviation industry       

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following program learning outcomes (PLOs):

1. Needs, Context and Systems
Describe, investigate and analyse complex engineering systems and associated issues (using systems thinking and modelling techniques)
Identify and assess risks (including OH&S) as well as the economic, social and environmental impacts of engineering activities

3. Analysis
Comprehend and apply advanced theory-based understanding of engineering fundamentals and specialist bodies of knowledge in the selected discipline area to predict the effect of engineering activities
Apply underpinning natural, physical and engineering sciences, mathematics, statistics, computer and information sciences.

5. Research
Plan and execute a substantial research-based project, with creativity and initiative in new situations in professional practice and with a high level of personal autonomy and accountability
Be aware of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.         

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs):

On completion of this course you should be able to:
1. Identify key factors leading to fatigue damage and other ruin mechanisms in aircraft structures
2. Implement advanced technical concepts, analyse and assess the fatigue and damage tolerance performance of aircraft structures using analytical and numerical methods.
3. Formulate the stress intensity factors for fatigue cracks
4. Calculate fatigue-crack growth under aircraft spectrum loading
5. Select and apply different techniques to mitigate and control damage evolution in aircraft structures.
6. Relate key concepts and practices of the fatigue and damage tolerance management within the regulatory environment, observing the applicable professional, legal and ethical standards ensuring the structural integrity of aircraft         

Overview of Learning Activities

The lectures will be in the form of face-to-face sessions covering the fundamental topics described in the teaching schedule, also resorting to practical worked examples and analysis of selected case studies. A laboratory session is also included to reinforce the theoretical concepts and to provide a hands-on experience. Finally, students are expected to undertake autonomous study based on proposed individual assignments aiming at deepening the knowledge assimilated in the face-to-face sessions, as well as to promote research habits and independent thinking skills.           

Overview of Learning Resources

Course-related resources will be provided online via the Blackboard platform. These may include any of the following elements: course material generated by the lecturer, reference texts, scientific and/or technical literature (e.g., journal papers, articles in specialised magazines, technical standards) and recommended links to useful material available online (e.g., media resources).         

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.
☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).

Assessment 1: Individual assignment on a selected topic (including report and oral presentation)
Weighting of final grade (%): 50% (Report: 35%; Presentation: 15%)
this task assesses the following learning outcomes:
PLO 1, 5; CLO 1, 5

Assessment 2:  Report (proposed exercise)
Weighting of final grade (%): 10 
this task assesses the following learning outcomes:
PLO 3; CLO 4

Assessment 3:  Report (laboratory experiment)
Weighting of final grade (%): 10 
this task assesses the following learning outcomes:
PLO 1; CLO 1, 6

Assessment 4:  Written test (in-class)
Weighting of final grade (%): 30% 
this task assesses the following learning outcomes:
PLO 1, 3; CLO 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6