Materials 4T03

Properties and Processing of Composites

2015-2016, Term 2


Dr. Hatem Zurob

Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 3:30-4:20

Course Notes


Intrinsic properties of matrix materials and fibres; mechanics and thermodynamics of interfaces; mechanical properties and fabrication of engineering composites.


The concepts covered in this course include:

  1. An introduction to composites materials (chapter 1, 2, 3)
  2. An introduction to tensors, stress, strain and elasticity theory (chapter 4, 5, 6)*
  3. Elastic behaviour of continuous fibre composites (ch. 4, 5)**
  4. Elastic behaviour of short fibre composites (ch. 6)**
  5. A description of the nature and importance of interfaces (ch 7)**
  6. Fracture strength of composites (ch. 8)**
  7. Fracture toughness of composites (ch. 9)**
  8. Thermal behaviour and creep (ch. 10)**
  9. Plastic deformation of composite materials
  10. Expanding to other properties of composite materials
  11. New types of composite materials: Functionally Graded and Architectured Materials
  12. Fabrication routes of composite materials (ch 11)**.

    * Chapter numbers refer to the book (see below).
    * *Chapter numbers refer to the textbook (see below)


Primary text book:

An Introduction to Composite Materials, 2nd Edition, by D. Hull and T.W. Clyne, Cambridge University Press (1996).

Supplementary texts:

S. Suresh and A. Mortensen, Fundamentals of Functionally Graded Materials
K.K. Chawla, Composite Materials
A. Kelly and N. H. MacMillan, Strong Solids
F. A. McClintock and A. S. Argon, Mechanical Behaviour of Materials
R. J. Young and P. A. Lovell, Introduction to Polymers
M.R. Piggott, Load Bearing Fibre Composites (not in library, I have a copy)
M.F. Ashby and D.R.H. Jones, Engineering Materials 2
L. Gibson and M.F. Ashby, Cellular Solids
T.W. Clyne and P. J. Withers, Introduction to Metal Matrix Composites
A. Kelly, Fabrication of Composites
*A. Kelly and G.W.Groves, Crystallography and Crystal Defects.


Assigned homework: 20%
Mid-term test: 20%
Final group project presentation (4-5 students/group): 20%
Final exam: 40%


Final group project will involve the following elements:
- pick an application for which composites are a likely candidate
- develop in depth report which addresses:
- possible materials systems
- rational selection of materials
- detailed design of composite architecture
- analysis of micro-mechanics including (if important): elasticity limits, fracture toughness properties, fatigue properties, fracture, etc...

Projects will be presented orally and in written form and it should be optimized for the presentation of about 20 minutes. There will be six groups of 4-5 students per group. Team work will be judged as well. Your team mark will be multiplied by a “participation factor” for each team member in order to arrive at the final mark of each student.


At the conclusion of this course, the student should have:
1. Develop knowledge of:

    • Composite materials - what are they and how do they differ from other classes of materials?
    • Nature of reinforcing materials - fibres, whiskers, platelets, etc.
    • Overview of mechanical and physical properties of a range of composite materials systems
    • Mechanisms of composite deformation and fracture
    • Fabrication of composite materials, and how this relates to microstructure and properties
    • How new materials are developed and become accepted by industry

2.  Develop skills in:

    • Assessment of the applicability of a specific material for a specific application
    • Rational selection of materials
    • Mechanics analysis of composite materials
    • Self-directed learning, incorporating researching properties of commercial materials

This course can be considered a capstone experience in that it allows the student to apply much of the knowledge gained in previous course related to solid mechanics, mechanical behaviour of materials, microstructure and processing.


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Updated January 2, 2012