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KU Aerospace Short Course Program

Structural Composites

Printable Course Information (PDF)

Course Schedule

April 24-28, 2017, Seattle, Washington

Seattle Lodging and Travel Information

You can also bring this course to your workplace. Learn more about our on-site program.


An introduction to high-performance composite materials, covering both engineering and manufacturing of composite parts and assemblies; basic material properties of the constituents (fiber and matrix); how they combine to form plies, or lamina; how to obtain lamina properties; how laminae are combined to form laminates and how to obtain the laminate properties. Other engineering topics include stress analysis, failure criteria and testing methods. Case studies and lessons-learned will be discussed. Design using composites will include material selection; lamination rules of thumb; weight analysis; fabrication process description; tool design; and preliminary cost and production rate analysis.

Includes instruction, a course notebook, refreshments and lunches.
The course notes are for participants only and are not for sale.


  • Historical review of laminated composite usage
  • Constituent materials and properties
  • Formulas and analysis tools to predict mechanical properties of laminates
  • Introduction to manufacturing composites
  • Failure theories and their limitations
  • Coupon level testing methods
  • Introduction to tooling design
  • Design of simple structures, lamination rules of thumb
  • Inspection methods
  • Bonded and bolted joints
  • Hygro-thermal effects
  • Interlaminar and free-edge effects
  • Durability and environmental issues
  • Design problems

Who Should Attend?

The course has proven very helpful to those wanting a broad overview and/or a crash course in composites; experienced engineers looking for a refresher course; stress engineers wanting to understand how composites really work or fail and what to look out for when analyzing parts, data and margins; practicing engineers and managers with metal experience wishing to expand their skill set; anyone wanting to jump into the field but does not know how to go about it; and engineering teams embarking on new projects involving composites.

Times / CEUs

31.50 classroom hours
3.150 CEUs

Certificate Track

Aircraft Structures

Learning Objectives

  • Examples of high performance composites used in aircraft
  • How to predict laminated composite stiffness and strength properties from properties of the constituent fiber and matrix
  • Failure theories for laminated composites
  • Design of simple structures with laminated composite materials
  • Processes for consolidating laminated composite structures, including tooling
  • Inspection processes for composites

Course Outline

Day One

  • Introduction/historical review of composites usage
  • Constituent materials—fibers and matrix
  • Formulas to predict mechanical properties of a single lamina (ply)
  • Manufacturing introduction

Day Two

  • Analysis tools/formulas to predict laminate (stack) elastic properties (classical lamination theory)
  • Constituent materials—unidirectional tape, tows, weaves, foam and honeycomb cores, adhesives
  • Failure theories and their limitations, proper use of the theories
  • Analysis exercise
  • Testing and inspection
  • More on manufacturing, tooling

Day Three

  • Structural requirements for aircraft
  • Thermal and moisture effects
  • Analysis exercise
  • Lamination rules of thumb
  • Design exercise

Day Four

  • Manufacturing processes(tools, cure cycles, defects)
  • Bonded and bolted joints, how to design and analyze
  • Design exercise
  • Buckling in composites
  • Damage tolerance

Day Five

  • Inter-laminar and free-edge effects
  • Aging of composite structures
  • Composite repair
  • Cost estimation
  • Design exercise

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On-site Contact Information

To learn about bringing a course to your workplace, contact Sarah Williams, on-site program manager, for a no-cost, no-obligation proposal.
Email ProfessionalPrograms@ku.edu
Phone 913-897-8782

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