- an aircraft or vehicle structure in which the chassis is integral with the body; a type of construction (as of a fuselage) in which the outer skin carries all or a major part of the stresses; a type of vehicle construction (as of an automobile) in which the body is integral with the chassis:
Monocoque (/ˈmɒnəˌkɒk, -ˌkoʊk/), also structural skin, is a structural system where loads are supported through an object’s external skin, similar to an egg shell. The word monocoque is a French term for “single shell” or (of boats) “single hull”. A true monocoque carries both tensile and compressive forces within the skin and can be recognised by the absence of a load carrying internal frame. By contrast, a semi-monocoque is a hybrid combining a tensile stressed skin and a compressive structure made up of longerons and ribs or frames. Other semi-monocoques not to be confused with true monocoques include vehicle unibodies, which tend to be composites, and inflatable shells or balloon tanks, both of which are pressure stabilised.
early 20th cent.: from French, from mono- ‘single’ + coque ‘shell.’
French, from mon- + coque shell, probably from Latin coccum kermes
First Known Use: 1913
monocoques (plural noun)