Modal Analysis of a Composite Monocoque Using Ansys Workbench

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The monocoque, which is French for "single-shell," is a type of structure in which the object’s outer or external skin carries all the tensile and compressive stresses. These are typically used for boats, aircraft bodies, and, to a limited extent, in automotive chassis. The popularity of monocoque construction is because of its strength and cheaper costs compared to other manufacturing techniques. Carbon-fiber-reinforced composite monocoques are quite common in the racing industry. An engineer designing these monocoques, say for an automobile, has to understand the excessive vibrations in the structural skin of the car as these can degrade or destroy the structural integrity of the vehicle.

For designing any system, it is important to know its natural frequency modes. If the structure experiences vibrations in the range of its natural frequency, it creates resonance and can cause a catastrophic failure. Monocoque designers must be aware of these frequency modes to avoid the resonance.

This SimCafe Course was developed by Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran, Swanson Director of Engineering Simulation at Cornell University, and Jingsi Wu, in partnership with Ansys. It was last modified by Sebastien Lachance-Barrett. It serves as an e-learning resource to integrate industry-standard simulation tools into courses and provides a resource for supplementary learning outside the classroom. In this course we show the modal analysis of a monocoque component.

For more ways to learn, check out the Cornell edX course, A Hands-on Introduction to Engineering Simulations at

Cornell University also offers a Fluid Dynamics Simulations Using Ansys online certificate authored by Dr. Rajesh Bhaskaran. Learn more here:

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