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Unit information: Process modelling and control in composites manufacture in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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 Process modelling and control in composites manufacture
Unit code AENGM0019
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Ivanov
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. The unit will provide a thorough understanding of process modelling. The course departs from the basic physical principles such as mass, energy and heat flow, and focusses on processes specific to composites manufacturing: mechanics of consolidation, resin infusion in liquid moulding and thermoplastic forming, mechanics of composite precursor deformation at component and structural scales, heat transfer and cure of thermoset materials, residual stress and distortions, defect generation and mitigation. The course provides an extensive overview of the current state-of-the-art modelling techniques, discusses their limitations and predictive power, introduces commercially available and bespoke software tools, and trains to use them properly.

The aims of this unit are to:

  1. Provide the Research Engineers with an understanding of the physico-chemical and mechanical transformations occurring during composites manufacturing
  2. Introduce the Research Engineers to the methodologies tools appropriate for quantitative modelling of composites processing
  3. Provide skills for time/cost/quality optimisation, defect mitigation, and control in composites manufacture processes

Intended learning outcomes

The students will be able to:

  1. Have a solid understanding of the fundamental physicochemical and mechanical processes involved in the major stages of composite manufacturing spanning from material deposition to residual effects.
  2. Appreciate issues and methodologies involved in process control in the manufacture of composite structures.
  3. Demonstrate awareness of commercially available software tools for process modelling and ability to use selected packages for design of a manufacturing process.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the applicability of process optimisation and defect mitigation strategies in composites processing.

Teaching details

This unit is taught through a mixture of lectures, specialist external lectures, software demonstrations and class exercises.

Assessment Details

  • Report on computer assignment in the form of presentation slides (80%)
  • 20-minute assessed presentation (20%)

This assessment will develop the student’s theoretical understanding of the nature of and the interactions between the components of fibre reinforced polymer composites, specifically during the processes of liquid resin infusion and cure.

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
  • “Process modeling in composites manufacturing” by Suresh G. Advani, E. Murat Sozer, CRC Press