Positioning variation modeling for aircraft panels assembly based on elastic deformation theory

Qing Wang, Renluan Hou, Jiangxiong Li, Yinglin Ke, Paul George Maropoulos, Xianzhi Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Dimensional variation in aircraft panel assembly is one of the most critical issues that affects the aerodynamic performance of aircraft, due to elastic deformation of parts during the positioning and clamping process. This paper proposes an assembly deformation prediction model and a variation propagation model to predict the assembly variation of aircraft panels, and derives consecutive 3-D deformation expressions which explicitly describe the nonlinear behavior of physical interaction occurring in compliant components assembly. An assembly deformation prediction model is derived from equations of statics of elastic beam to calculate the elastic deformation of panel component resulted from positioning error and clamping force. A variation propagation model is used to describe the relationship between local variations and overall assembly variations. Assembly variations of aircraft panels due to positioning error are obtained by solving differential equations of statics and operating spatial transformations of the coordinate. The calculated results show a good prediction of variation in the experiment. The proposed method provides a better understanding of the panel assembly process and creates an analytical foundation for further work on variation control and tolerance optimization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2592-2604
    JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
    Issue number14
    Early online date9 Mar 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright: IMechE 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

    Funding: National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 51375442).


    • Aircraft panel assembly, positioning variation, elastic deformation theory, variation propagation model


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