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Unit information: Advanced Composite Materials in 2020/21

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


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 details

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 Details

100% Coursework

Reading and References

  • Introduction to Polymers, 3rd ed. R J Young, P A Lovell, Taylor and Francis: Boca Raton (2011).
  • Thermosets, Structure, Properties, and Applications (G Quo Ed.) Elsevier: Amsterdam (2017).
  • Polymers, the Environment and Sustainable Development, A Azapagic, A M Emsley, I Hamerton (I Hamerton Ed.) Wiley: Chichester (2003).