This paper proposes an advanced approach to the analysis of reinforced-shell aircraft structures. This approach, denoted as Component-Wise (CW), is developed by using the Carrera Unified Formulation (CUF). CUF is a hierarchical formulation allowing for the straightforward implementation of any-order one-dimensional (1D) beam theories. Lagrange-like polynomials are used to discretize the displacement field on the cross-section of each component of the structure. Depending on the geometrical and material characteristics of the component, the capabilities of the model can be enhanced and the computational costs can be kept low through smart discretization strategies. The global mathematical model of complex structures (e.g. wings or fuselages) is obtained by assembling each component model at the cross-section level. Next, a classical 1D finite element (FE) formulation is used to develop numerical applications. It is shown that MSC/PATRAN can be used as pre- and post-processor for the CW models, whereas MSC/NASTRAN DMAP alters can be used to solve both static and dynamic problems. A number of typical aeronautical structures are analyzed and CW results are compared to classical beam theories (Euler-Bernoulli and Timoshenko), refined models 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 be only obtained through three-dimensional elasticity (solid) elements whose computational costs are at least one-order of magnitude higher than CW models.

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