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Unit information: Constituents of composites in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Constituents of composites
Unit code AENGM0015
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Partridge
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

This unit forms part of the taught component of the EngD programme in Composites Manufacture. It introduces Research Engineers to the wide range of synthetic resin matrices available, making a distinction between thermosetting and thermoplastic matrices and the wide range of corresponding fibrous reinforcements and their different forms. Laboratory demonstrations of liquid resins, prepregs and dry preforms will be made, together with demonstrations of analytical techniques and use of thermo-mechanical characterisation equipment. The course will be delivered from a materials science perspective with particular emphasis on the application of these methodologies to advanced fibre reinforced polymer composites. The specialist knowledge and understanding gained through this course will provide the Research Engineers with the essential foundation required for study of composite materials. The aims of this unit are to:

  1. Provide Research Engineers with the fundamental basis for study, by giving an overview of the individual material components of polymer matrix composites
  2. Introduce the concept of matrix-reinforcement interface at multiple scales and the implications of that interface on processing – structure – property relationships
  3. Introduce physico-chemical and thermo-mechanical methods of characterisation of the constituent elements and of the interfaces
  4. Demonstrate relevant NDE techniques

Intended Learning Outcomes

The students will be able to:

  1. Provide a clear overview of the diverse range of component materials used in the manufacture of polymer composites, their complex hierarchical structure and describe their unique engineering properties
  2. Understand some of the issues and methodologies involved in the selection of composites for specific applications
  3. Select suitable characterisation techniques to evaluate relevant physico-chemical and thermo-mechanical characteristics of composites constituents; interpret data obtained from them

The learning outcomes align to A1 and B2 of the UK-SPEC

Teaching Information

  • 14 lectures
  • 2 specialist external lectures
  • 3 lab visits and demonstrations
  • Class exercise

Assessment Information

  • Written assignment (85%)1
  • 20 minute assessed presentation (15%)2

Note 1: This assessment will develop the student’s theoretical understanding of the nature of, and the interactions between, the components of fibre reinforced polymer composites.

Note 2: The marks awarded for the 20 minute presentation (15 minute presentation and 5 minutes for technical questions) will be equally distributed between academic and peer review assessment. This method of assessment was designed with the size of the cohort in mind (10 students) and provides them with an excellent opportunity to develop and build on their transferable skills.

Reading and References

  • “Fundamentals of fibre reinforced composite materials” by A R Bunsell and J Renard, IoP
  • “An introduction to Composite Materials” by D Hull and T W Clyne, 2nd edition, CUP