The talk will provide an overview of selected structural similitude, scaling, and performance metrics activities that have taken place at the Langley Research Center over the past 50 years. Similitude can be a powerful tool to provide the systematic guidance of the development of aircraft and spacecraft structures and associated performance simulation methods. Basically, similitude enables test results to be scaled to various structural sizes and load levels, thus, dramatically reducing the mount of testing required to identify and develop new concepts and to validate high fidelity performance simulation models.
A historical review will be provided including the use of similitude in aircraft structural analysis and design dating back to 1920. A discussion will presented, and examples shown, for the use of similitude in the development of performance metrics for a wide range of aerospace structural applications. Performance metrics will be discussed and demonstrated for, composite aircraft structures, launch vehicle structures, deployable beams and columns, decelerators, planetary surface manipulator arms, very large space operations arms, and solar array structures.