Structural Mechanics & Concepts

The Structural Mechanics and Concepts Branch conducts basic and applied research in the areas of structural mechanics, heat transfer, and advanced structural concepts to enhance the state-of-the-art (or expand knowledge/understanding) and produce innovative, reliable, and efficient structural and thermal protection system concepts for aerospace applications.  The Branch provides subject matter expertise in conducting high-fidelity structural and thermal analyses and experiments, and in predicting the response of complex metallic and composite structures subjected to a comprehensive range of loads and temperatures, for applications in all speed regimes in aeronautics, and for launch-vehicle and space applications.  Additionally, the Branch develops advanced structural test techniques and analysis methods, conceives of and validates theories/concepts in structural mechanics, stability, and heat transfer, and develops innovative structural-concept solutions for extraterrestrial planetary operations.  The Branch also conducts investigations on high temperature material systems for hot structures and atmospheric entry systems.


  • Structural Mechanics and Stability
  • Heat Transfer
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • High-fidelity linear and nonlinear analytical modelling and evaluation
  • Thermal and structural testing methodology
  • Thermal and structural modelling and simulation methodology
  • Fabrication methods/techniques/processes and design guidelines


  • James H. Starnes Structures and Materials Laboratory¬†
  • Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISSAC) Facility
  • In-Space Assembly (ISA) Laboratory