In most aerospace structures there are two primary concerns: performance - often dictated by thermo-fluid considerations, and integrity - which is heavily influenced by materials and structural dynamics. This talk is concerned with the latter aspect, and the efforts which are under way to improve this aspect of the state-of-the-art aerospace designs of the future. The first part of the talk is essentially a strategic overview of the whole area of Structural Dynamics, seeking to identify some of the crucial topics that present the most urgent challenges for further progress. At the strategic level, the first issue is the critical importance of obtaining the correct balance between the three core competences that must be deployed in almost every application – Theoretical Modelling, Numerical Analysis and Experimental Measurement. Then, the focus turns to ensure that the integration of test analysis activities which is necessary to carry out Validation and Verification of models, designs and products are properly and effectively carried out, including full attention to all sources of uncertainty.
The second part of the talk describes some of the recent specific developments in the aero-engine and rotorcraft sectors. First amongst these is the importance, and challenges, of taking proper account of the interfaces and joints which separate the many components in any engineering structure. This leads inevitably to much more frequent encounters with nonlinear behaviour, and the need for both modelling and - especially - experimental methods to deal with these effects. Of particular interest throughout is the need to provide technology capabilities that allow industry to be able to analyse, design and test for realistic in-service operating conditions.