Skip to main content

Unit information: Manufacturing of composite structures in 2016/17

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 Manufacturing of composite structures
Unit code AENGM0016
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Potter
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit forms part of the taught component of the EngD programme in Composites Manufacture and introduces the Research Engineers to the processes that are used in the manufacturing of composite components and structures. The course will start from the historical development of the composites manufacturing technology and place an emphasis on the fundamental physics and chemistry associated with the conversion of fibres and matrices into useful composite materials. Building on the basic science, the course will then examine a range of industrially relevant composites manufacturing processes that utilise both liquid resins and preimpregnated reinforcements. The course will also cover a first introduction to industrial practice in areas such as costing, tooling and plant design to equip the Research Engineers to contribute to the development of composites manufacturing within their EngD research programme.

The aims of this unit are to:

  1. Provide the Research Engineers with an overview of classical and modern composites manufacturing techniques
  2. Provide a practical demonstration of range of classical and modern composites manufacturing techniques
  3. Enable the students to understand the industrial aspects of composites manufacture in addition to the processing issues

Intended learning outcomes

The students will be able to:

  1. Provide a clear overview of the diverse range of techniques used in the manufacture of polymer composites, their advantages and limitations
  2. Appreciate some of the issues and methodologies involved in the selection of manufacturing routes, in particular appreciating the implications of matrix selection on the manufacturing routes available
  3. Appreciate some of the characteristics of components made by different process routes and how these may impact on design and performance issues

The learning outcomes align to A1 of the UK-SPEC.

Teaching details

  • 14 lectures
  • 2 specialist external lectures
  • Lab demonstrations of liquid moulding and autoclave moulding
  • Masterclass/investigation of components manufactured by different routes

Assessment Details

  • Written Assignment (85%)1
  • 20 minute Assessed Presentation (15%)2

Note 1: This assessment will develop the student’s appreciation of manufacturing considerations for composite components, using examples drawn from within their sponsoring organisation.

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

  • “Manufacturing of Polymer Composites” by B T Astrom, Chapman&Hall
  • “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