Stress Without Tears: A primer on aircraft-stress analysis requiring no advanced mathematics
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12 of 12 found the following review helpful:
From the EEA forum by Gordon Arnaut Feb 07, 2009
By Dave from Marietta
Stress Without Tears covers structural design and analysis. They are the perfect complement to each other (along with Basics of R/C Model Aircraft Design) and will provide an excellent grounding in aeronautical design for the non-engineer. (They are also a very good refresher for the engineer).
Why am I making this recommendation? The reason is that a lot of the same questions and discussions spring up on message boards on which I participate. Just recently we have had all kinds of questions about ailerons, flaps, wing spars, struts, etc.
All of these questions are design-related. That is to say, the builder is wondering how best to build the airplane and the plans either don't show the detail in enough specificity, or the builder has an idea for "improving" his plane.
It is a fact of life that no two builders build the exact same plane, even if it is from a kit. Every builder does things a little differently. With plans this is even more true, especially if the plans leave a lot of the detials open, as is the case with the Ragwing plans that I have seen.
So the builder ends up with a lot of questions. Even if you intend to follow the plans to the letter and the plans show every little detail, the questions are still there because it is human nature to be curious about how things actually work and why they work that way.
I am confident that every airplane builder will greatly appreciate these two books and will enjoy the increased knowledge they get from studying through them. Knowledge really is power, and when you are able to figure out a question on your own, you feel a true sense of discovery.
Once you've mastered aerodynamics and flight mechanics with "Aircraft Design," you can turn to structures. That is the subject of "Stress Without Tears," and it does a beautiful job. Again, it is aimed at the non-engineer and makes a technical subject very understandable. The book covers just about everything one needs to know about aircraft structures -- starting with loads calculations, spar strength, sizing, analysis, etc. It covers a number of different materials, from wood, to tubing, to sheet aluminum.
The author, Tom Rhodes holds a PhD in aerospace engineering and worked on the design team for some of the earliest jet fighters. He is eminently qualified to write this book and he does a great job of explaining the concepts in a very understandable way.
Each chapter is really more of an "article." This book sprang from a series of articles from Kit Planes magazine.
This book is not meant to be aerospace engineering textbook. However, if you study through these and you want to go further, then you will be able to pick up an engineering book and actually understand it. I have a good library of engineering books and I can tell you that this book contains most of what is in those big, dense engineering books -- minus the theory.
Let me explain what I mean by that. For example if you take a college textbook on flight mechanics, you will learn about the equations of motion that govern an airplane's flight through the air. (Btw, the word "mechanics" in this context does not mean someone who repairs a car or an engine; "mechanics" is the discipline of physics that studies the motion of objects -- big difference).
The flight mechanics textbook provides the theory that starts right from Newton's Laws and shows how the equations are derived. This involves a lot of calculus, which is fun and interesting only to those who love math. This is important for the scientist and engineer because it PROVES, scientifically that those equations are actually valid.
As a non-scientist, you do not really need to prove those equations to yourself. We just accept that they are factual and true. So when these two books tell us how do do an aerodynamic calculation, or a stress calculation, they skip all of that scientific theory and complicated math and explain it in a a way that is intuitive and makes sense. The bottom line is that you still learn the same equations that you learn in the textbooks. You just don't learn the science behind them and the complicated derivations.
The result is the same, since most engineers quickly forget those theoretical derivations anyway -- once the exams are out of the way. But it is the actual equations for figuring out aerodynamic and structural problems that are the tools that you continue to use.
I will also underline that any learning that you accomplish is directly proportional to the effort you put into it. Picking up this book is not going to be like reading through a fluffy magazine. You actually have to think about what you are reading and maybe take notes and make drawings. But it is a lot of fun too.
2 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Stress Without Tears Dec 30, 2009
By Orin L. Humphries
This book has an excellent balance of easy to use approaches up front with deeper subjects for those who want that near the end.
Aircraft structures explained Mar 10, 2013
By Robert Schmeltzer
I am new to aircraft structural design and building. This book is a good beginning book on different structures and load paths associated with home built aircraft.The math is basic and kept me wanting more. i will now progress to a more indepth book on aircraft structural analyses. This is a good book. i refer to it frequently.
Quite useful Jan 02, 2013
By L O MacDonald
This a really useful book, particular its treatment of stress analysis relating to wood and fabric type structures (it also covers metal structures).
Great starting point Dec 30, 2010
By David Bonorden
This is probably the only existing "overview" with limited math of the subject. It's a great starting point, but it is not really a book, but rather a collection of articles from Kitplanes magazine. It jumps around a lot, so is a little hard to follow. There were numerous errors in the articles as they appeared in Kitplanes and it appears that those errors were not corrected when the articles were compiled into this book. A review of the relevant issues of Kitplanes reveals many corrections to articles from previous months. Still, Mr. Rhodes did a great service to the community by writing this huge series of articles and I credit Kitplanes for the committment to publishing the whole series, which ran over 3 and a half years. In spite of the errors, which are usually detectable from context and other equations, it delivers on the concepts, background and methods. Composites are not addressed, which is probably the biggest miss from the conceptual standpoint for today's audience. This book will not make one qualified to design or analyze aircraft structures, but for those interested in this subject, it's great starting point.
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