This paper proposes advanced approaches to the free vibration analysis of reinforced-shell wing structures. These approaches exploit a hierarchical, one-dimensional (1D) formulation, which leads to accurate and computationally efficient finite element (FE) models. This formulation is based on the unified formulation (UF), which has been recently proposed by the first author and his coworkers. In the study presented in this paper, UF was used to model the displacement field above the cross-section of reinforced-shell wing structures. Taylor-like (TE) and Lagrange-like (LE) polynomial expansions were adopted above the cross-section. A classical 1D FE formulation along the wing's span was used to develop numerical applications. Particular attention was given to the component-wise (CW) models obtained by means of the LE formulation. According to the CW approach, each wing's component (i.e. spar caps, panels, webs, etc.) can be modeled by means of the same 1D formulation. It was shown that Msc/Patran® can be used as pre- and postprocessor for the CW models, whereas Msc/Nastran® DMAP alters can be used to solve the eigenvalue problems. A number of typical aeronautical structures were analyzed and CW results were compared to classical beam theories (Euler-Bernoulli and Timoshenko), refined models (TE) and classical solid/shell FE solutions from the commercial code Msc/Nastran®. The results highlight the enhanced capabilities of the proposed formulation. In fact, the CW approach is clearly the natural tool to analyze wing structures, since it leads to results that can only be obtained through 3D elasticity (solid) elements whose computational costs are at least one-order of magnitude higher than CW models.

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