Wingboxes are an integral part of many fixed-wing aircraft, wherein they form the structural center of aircraft wings while simultaneously allowing for the use of other wing parts, such as flaps and wingtips. Serving as the primary load-carrying structure in aircraft, the wingbox runs along the wings and into the fuselage. To better understand these complex devices, this blog will cover five facts about wingboxes you may not be familiar with.
1. One of the Strongest Parts of Aircraft
The wingbox is one of the most robust parts of an aircraft and is utilized as the mounting surface for the wings. As such, wingboxes must have the capacity to withstand various loads and stressors which impact the wings. More than that, they contribute to the structural soundness of aircraft.
2. Made of Carbon Fiber
Early versions of wingboxes were made of stainless steel, but recently, these essential aerospace components are being composed of carbon fiber. In fact, most wingboxes are made of such a material because of its strength-to-weight ratio. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is strong, but outweighs its carbon fiber counterpart. With this in mind, carbon fiber wingboxes have risen in popularity.
3. Attaches to Landing Gear
You may be surprised to learn that landing gear is often attached to the wingbox. While the wings are generally attached to the sides of the wingbox, the landing gear may also be attached to the underside of the wingbox as well. Furthermore, the wingbox is typically installed in the rear section of the fuselage, making it a perfect mount point for landing gear.
4. Not Like Box Spars
Wingboxes are often conflated with box spars, but they are not the same. Instead, boxspars are box-shaped skeletal frames for wings. In contrast, wingboxes are box-shaped structural units where wings, landing gear, and other aircraft components can be attached. Beyond the fact that all aircraft are equipped with such devices, wingboxes and box spars are completely different.
5. Available as a Single Piece
Airbus, the European multinational aerospace corporation, has recently developed a single-piece wingbox made entirely of carbon fiber. Of the countless aerospace manufacturers in existence today, Airbus is leading the way in terms of wingbox design with their unveiling of this single-piece wingbox in 2017. With only a single piece, Airbus claims that this new carbon-fiber wingbox design costs 20% less to manufacture.
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