Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

New Open Textbook: Aerospace Structures by Eric Raymond Johnson

by Anita Walz, posted on March 31, 2022

Cover of Aerospace Structures by Eric Raymond Johnson
Cover art: Tom Cleary via Unsplash
Cover: Kindred Grey

Virginia Tech’s Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering and Virginia Tech Publishing are pleased to announce publication of a new open textbook by Eric Raymond Johnson, Ph.D., titled, Aerospace Structures.

Aerospace Structures ( is a 600+ page text and reference book for junior, senior, and graduate-level aerospace engineering students.

The text begins with a discussion of the aerodynamic and inertia loads acting on aircraft in symmetric flight and presents a linear theory for the statics and dynamic response of thin-walled straight bars with closed and open cross-sections. Isotropic and fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials including temperature effects are modeled with Hooke’s law. Methods of analyses are by differential equations, Castigliano’s theorems, the direct stiffness method, the finite element method, and Lagrange’s equations. There are numerous examples for the response of axial bars, beams, coplanar trusses, coplanar frames, and coplanar curved bars. Failure initiation by the von Mises yield criterion, buckling, wing divergence, fracture, and by Puck’s criterion for FRP composites are presented in the examples.

Problem sets related to this book are available at:

Instructors interested in receiving notification of additional file types (LaTeX, ePub, print), or reviewing, adopting, or adapting parts or the whole of the text are requested to register their interest at:

Table of Contents

  1. Function of Flight Vehicle Structural Members
  2. Aircraft Loads
  3. Elements of Thin-Walled Bar Theory
  4. Some Aspects of the Structural Analysis
  5. Work and Energy Methods
  6. Applications of Castigliano’s Theorems
  7. Arches, Rings, and Fuselage Frames
  8. Laminated Bars of Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites
  9. Failure Initiation in FRP Compositives
  10. Structural Stability of Discrete Conservative Systems
  11. Buckling of Columns and Plates
  12. Introduction to Aeroelasticity
  13. Fracture of Cracked Members
  14. Design of a Landing Strut and Wing Spar
  15. Direct Stiffness Method
  16. Applications of the Direct Stiffness Method
  17. Finite Element Method
  18. Introduction to Flexible Body Dynamics
  19. Appendix A: Linear Elasticity of Solid Bodies
Sample figure from Aerospace Structures, figure 3.6 Transverse shear strains of the bar with respect to the shear center: (a) projection in the x-z plane, (b) projection in the y-z plane.
Sample figure from Aerospace Structures (Fig 3.6)

Free Access to Aerospace Structures


The peer-reviewed work is made possible in part by financial and in-kind contributions from the Open Education Initiative at Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Publishing, and VIVA – the Virtual Library of Virginia. Virginia Tech open textbook titles are hosted in VTechWorks and listed as Virginia Tech Open Education Initiative projects

Peer reviewers
Joseph Brooks, Doctoral Student and Graduate Assistant, Virginia Tech
Christine Gilbert, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
Mayuresh Patil, Associate Professor, Virginia Tech / Professor of Practice, Georgia Tech
Varakini Sanmugadas, Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant, Virginia Tech
Gary Seidel, Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
Namiko Yamamoto, Assistant Professor, Penn State
Anonymous, Professor, University of Virginia

Co-investigators: Mayuresh Patil, Rakesh Kapania
Managing editor and co-investigator: Anita Walz
Alt text writer: Joseph Brooks
Alt text assistant: Claire Colvin
Cover design and selected graphics: Kindred Grey

Suggested citation
Johnson, Eric R. (2022) Aerospace Structures. Blacksburg: Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. Licensed with CC BY NC-SA 4.0.

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Unless otherwise noted, this work is released under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY NC SA) 4.0 license which allows adaptation and redistribution with attribution for uses which are not primarily commercial. See the license terms and best practices for attribution for additional information.

About the Author
Eric Raymond Johnson is emeritus professor of aerospace and ocean engineering at Virginia Tech. He earned his doctoral degree in applied mechanics from the University of Michigan in 1976, and from 1976 to 2003 was a member of the engineering faculty at Virginia Tech. Dr. Johnson s research area is composite structures. Research activities include the mechanics of the response and failure of advanced composite material structures with applications to flight and land vehicles, buckling and post-buckling of plates and shells, progressive failure analysis for the prediction of energy absorption in laminated composites and in bonded joints, and fracture mechanics. He has sixty-four publications in structural mechanics, and has been awarded research funding from government agencies and industries.. He is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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