Deducing the physical characteristics of an impactor from the resultant damage on aircraft structures

Philippe F.R. Massart, V. S.Viswanath Dhanisetty*, Christos Kassapoglou, W. J.C.(Wim) Verhagen, Richard Curran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


This paper proposes an analytical model that uses historical damage dimension data to deduce physical impactor characteristics (size and energy) that has caused a certain resulting damage. Maintenance tasks occur in operations due to impact, however the source of the damage caused in the event remains in most cases unknown. Consequently, by inferring what has caused a certain type of damage from the distribution of the damage type and severity relative to impactor types, maintainers can be better prepared in terms of what to expect from a given impactor source. The developed model introduces a novel transition deformation region between the local deformation and the global plate deflection, allowing for fast and accurate predictions of the impact event. Using the known aluminium structural properties and damage dimensions, the damage data is converted into impactor data. The model is applied in a case study using 120 fuselage dent damages dimensions (length, width, and depth) from a Boeing 777 fleet. The results show that the model deduces impactor characteristics for 94% of the considered damages, ranging up to 240 J and 110 mm for impactor energy and radius respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Aluminium fuselage
  • Damage impactors
  • Damage modelling
  • Dents
  • Impact damage
  • Structural impact


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