Course Length: 5 days

Pre Requisites:



This course has been developed to provide engineers and technical managers with a broad, but comprehensive understanding of composite materials and manufacturing techniques used in component development, design, and “in-service” operation. The course covers the major considerations for the application of composite materials with an emphasis on the structural requirements, material usage, manufacturing techniques, vacuum bagging, and cure cycles. The E-1 course also covers the fundamentals of composite analysis. The course incorporates classroom lecture, and hands-on fabrication of wet layup, prepreg, solid laminate, foam core, and honeycomb core panels. These panels are then both bonded and bolted together then mechanically tested to evaluate their performance and failure to the classroom analysis. E-1 is a recommended prerequisite for all of the Engineering Structures courses to ensure that the students have a sufficient understanding of composite materials and processes before they begin the learning process on more in-depth composite analysis techniques. Only engineers with extensive composite materials and process experience from OJT, or other formal training, such as Abaris' Advanced Composite Structures: Fabrication & Damage Repair - Phase 1 (M-1/R-1) course should consider omitting this course as a prerequisite.


Now designated as E-1:

This course compares various manufacturing processes, outlining the differences that each process offers, in terms of component quality and structural performance.

Several panels will be fabricated in class in order to demonstrate significant fabrication and processing effects.

Specific component design details such as holes, joints, ply drop-offs, etc. are discussed and examined from a behavioral point of view. The course includes a review of in-service issues, such as damage and defects, repairability, environmental influences, manufacturing quality requirements, certification standards, and health and safety concerns.

Overall this course allows attendees to better understand the issues facing composite designers, engineers, and fabricators as they develop and implement composite materials into new components and structures. This understanding will greatly improve the effective and efficient use of composite materials into their product.

Participants in the course will be provided with a comprehensive set of course notes and other related documents.


Key Lecture Topics:

  • Introduction to composite capabilities and global properties – explains the fundamental behavior and performance issues with composite materials, as is the overall behavior characteristics that are unique to composite materials and structures.
  • Terms and definitions – the fundamental terms used in the composite industry are listed and explained.
  • Health and safety concerns– aspect of occupational health and safety are discussed, with the need to protect the working and the environment emphasized.


  • Constituent material properties and effects – an in-depth discussion of fiber and resin properties with their individual impact on composite structures.
  • Composite component manufacture – several methods are available to manufacture (fabricate) composite structures. These methods will be discussed with consideration given to the facility requirements, product quality, and structural performance.
  • Quality Control and Quality Assurance requirements – method of ensuring quality components are discussed with the impact of what happens if quality processes are neglected.
  • Nondestructive Inspection – The role of visual and instrumented nondestructive inspection in manufacturing and maintaining composite structures.
  • Composite mechanical test methods – there are many testing methods used in composite material property evaluation. These methods range from Quality Assurance testing to mechanical property acquisition. The significance of testing is emphasized.
  • Certification standards – in certain applications a set of certification standards must be achieved. A general overview of certification in composite structures is presented and the implications of Nadcap, ISO 9001, and AS9100.
  • Assembly methods – Assembly fixtures, mechanical fastening, and adhesive bonding.
  • Maintenance and repair – Discussion of in-service damage types, and the requirements for maintenance and repair activities are introduced as an important part of the life-cycle approach to design and development.
  • Cost estimating – facility requirements, process selection for fabrication and output quantity determine the product cost can be estimated from relatively simple assumptions. An example cost estimation exercise is provided.
  • Damage and damage tolerance – a review of damage mechanisms, damage growth, and inspection in composite structures is discussed with the aim of improving the appropriate application of composite materials and determining the design, manufacturing, inspection, and maintenance requirements.
  • Structural applications – a review of primary, secondary, and tertiary structural applications of composite materials.
  • Design requirements for composites – a detailed discussion of the several design requirements that will lead to efficient and effective composite components and structures.
  • The properties of a single layer (ply) – from the constituent materials the single layer (ply or lamina) behavior and engineering properties are explained without the mathematic rigor, but with sufficient detail to understand the complexity of composite material engineering mechanics.
  • Laminate properties and effects – as a composite structure is built by the lamination process the structural properties are developed simultaneously. These engineering and physical properties are discussed, including the effects on the overall structural performance.
  • An approach to designing composite components – in the design and development of composite structures and components there are several steps that need to be followed to produce an efficient and effective structure. These steps will be overviewed to consider what the engineer is attempting to achieve.
  • Structural behavior of composite components – the configuration of a laminated composite structure will affect its overall structural performance. The implications and influences of ply orientation, stacking sequence, and symmetry are discussed in this section.
  • Stiffened laminate and sandwich structures – a review of the in-service performance and environmental concerns of stiffened structure versus sandwich structures.
  • Issues with structural detail (holes, joints, etc.) – the detailed geometric features of composite structure have a wide and different affect on the structural performance of composite components. Here these effects are reviewed to provide a better understanding of the unique behavior and stress issues for composite structures.
  • Analysis software, data requirements, and Industry databases.
  • Environmental and operational issues – an overview of environmental and operational issues (moisture, temperature, etc) is provided to understand the materials selection requirements early in the development of composite structures and components.

Workshop Exercises:

  • Composite panel layups
  • Vacuum bag preparation and installation
  • Elevated temperature curing
  • Post-fab inspection and panel structural performance evaluation