Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Sullivan, Rani W.

Committee Member

Rais-Rohani, Masoud

Committee Member

Myers, Olivers J.

Committee Member

Richards, W. Lance

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Aerospace Engineering


The objective of this study was to determine the deflected wing shape and the out-of-plane loads of a large-scale carbon-composite wing of an ultralight aerial vehicle using Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) technology. The composite wing was instrumented with an optical fiber on its top and bottom surfaces positioned over the main spar, resulting in approximately 780 strain sensors bonded to the wings. The strain data from the FBGs was compared to that obtained from four conventional strain gages, and was used to obtain the out-of-plane loads as well as the wing shape at various load levels using NASA-developed real-time load and displacement algorithms. The composite wing measured 5.5 meters and was fabricated from laminated carbon uniaxial and biaxial prepreg fabric with varying laminate ply patterns and wall thickness dimensions. A three-tier whiffletree system was used to load the wing in a manner consistent with an inlight loading condition.



structural testing||Out-of-plane loads||Wing shape