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Unit information: Advanced Composite Materials in 2021/22

Unit name Advanced Composite Materials
Unit code AENGM0040
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Hamerton
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

This unit is intended to provide students with specialist knowledge of advanced polymer composites. It will develop or enhance understanding of materials structure and property relationships and to allow them to undertake research in designing and testing composites materials. It will cover the elements of polymer composites such as polymer resin chemistry, types of fibres and their microstructure and properties, fibre and polymer resin interface, and characterisation of polymer composites using techniques such as DSC, DMA, rheometry, etc.

The aim of this unit is to:

  • Provide an understanding of polymerization chemistry and structure property relationships associated with polymer matrices commonly used in advanced composites.
  • Develop an understanding of the processing methods to combine polymer matrices and reinforcements.
  • Develop an understanding of microstructure and chemical structure of fibres such as glass, ceramics, metal, carbon, and aramid.
  • Introduce aspects of the chemistry controlling the interfaces between matrix and fibres, in particular the phenomena of adhesion, adsorption, and wetting.
  • Introduce the concept of sustainable matrices and reinforcements for advanced composites.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to select materials and/or modify material processing or manufacturing methods based on:

  1. Knowledge of the chemistry of cross linking of polymer resins;
  2. Knowledge of the methods used to process matrices for advanced composites;
  3. Understanding the concept of structure-property relationships for common advanced composite matrices;
  4. Knowledge of the types of fibres, fibre structure, and properties commonly used in advanced polymer composites;
  5. Understanding of the surface treatment of fibres to improve fibre matrix bonding; and to
  6. Apply polymer characterization techniques used in composite materials research.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, which may include lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information


1-hour, in-class written test. This will test understanding of ILO 1-3.


Directed questions case study (100%). This will test understanding of ILO 1-6.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. AENGM0040).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.