Course Length: 5 days

Pre Requisites:

E-1 Essentials of Composite Materials for Engineers & Technical Managers course, or

E-3 Aerospace Repair Analysis & Substantiation, or

Equivalent experience with composite materials and processes.


This course is designed for engineers who wish to learn the fundamentals of laminate design and analysis. The course is quite mathematical in nature and participants should be degree-qualified aerospace, mechanical or structural engineers or have practical experience in structural analysis.


Mathematical skills in matrix algebra and basic calculus are utilized. Participants without a thorough knowledge in composite materials or any analysis experience are strongly encouraged to take our Repair Analysis and Substantiation course as a prerequisite.

Engineers involved in the design and repair of composite structures are often required to analyze and develop a unique lamination sequence. This requires an understanding of the relationships between materials and their effects on the properties of the composite laminate. Students will develop and perform stress, strain and stiffness analysis using Laminated Plate Theory, as well as fabricate and perform structural testing on composite laminates. The mechanical testing will be compared with the computer analytical predictions.

This course will enable the engineer to determine the mechanical behavior of a laminated fiber-reinforced structure by understanding the interaction between the fiber and the matrix and the effects of the stacking sequence on a laminate. The class requires only a basic understanding of engineering loads, moments and deformations. The generalized stress-strain relationships for homogenous, isotropic materials are used to develop the stiffness and strength for an orthotropic, fiber-reinforced composite.

The course develops all of the necessary equations to understand the effects of resin content, fiber volume and material density. The analysis unfolds into lamination theory to study the results of lamination sequence and the requirements for ply orientation.

Simple computer programs are developed and used to demonstrate the effects of different configurations of the ABD matrix on the mechanical properties of a complete composite laminate. Failure criteria are applied to the composite laminate to finalize the design process.


Key Lecture Topics:

  • Axis and coordinate systems for both the material and laminate.
  • Basic engineering loads, moments and deformations.
  • Stress and strain relationships.
  • Composite material properties.
  • Constitutive equation based on the stiffness and compliance matrices.
  • Off-axis, in-plane and transverse loading.
  • Interpretation of the A, B and D matrices.
  • ABD matrix effects on the physical properties for various lamination sequences.
  • Computer laminate analysis using the ABD matrix.
  • Laminate failure criteria.

Workshop Exercises:

  • Direct application of micro-mechanics and macro-mechanics brought from the theoretical classroom environment.
  • Computer design and simulation.
  • Wet layup and prepreg composite laminate fabrication.
  • Structural testing to failure; comparison between actual and theoretical calculations and analysis.