The U.S. Air Force Approach to Aircraft Damage Tolerant Design
The inclusion of damage tolerance design and a systematic review of design procedures allow the U.S. Air Force to design, manufacture, and maintain systems that are structurally safe and economically prudent. After a brief introduction of fracture mechanics, this article describes the particular aspects that relate to damage tolerance in aircraft design. It discusses the use of fracture mechanics as a method of predicting failure, understanding failure mechanisms, and suggesting inspection methods to protect against failure in pressure vessels. Various programs of U.S. Air Force to design aircraft structure, namely, airframe structural integrity programs, engine structural integrity program, and mechanical subsystems structural integrity program are also discussed.