Mechanics of Composite Materials





Offered by

Mechanical Engineering




The student must have passed the courses ME-MEC2 and ME-FEM1.

Main purpose

There is a large branch in Denmark producing wind turbine blades that are in need of mechanical
engineers that are able to design composite structures. Moreover, a smaller branch in Denmark
producing aerospace and space components are also in need of skilled engineers.
The main purpose of the course is to enable students to understand the mechanics in a laminate and
have a solid knowledge about the possibilities and restrictions in using composite materials in products and structures.
The course also enables the students to work with molds for composites and to simulate fibre-reinforced composites using Ansys ACP.

Modern structures require modern material models. Fibre reinforced composite laminates are one of these material models. The highly desired weight and stiffness to strengths relationship as well as the anisotropy of the mechanical properties for the component design are important parameters. For an optimal design, the simulation process is very important due to the variety of parameters as the analytical process becomes very complicated with modern designs.


Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Explain the design process using fibre reinforced composites.
- Indicate the difference between design for strength or compliance.
- Name the different materials used in fibre reinforced materials and sandwich structures.
- List the different manufacturing processes for fibre reinforced composites and sandwich materials
- Describe the differences between micromechanics, ply mechanics and macromechanics
- Explain the use of ANSYS Composite PrepPost (ACP) in order to evaluate the performance of fibre composite structures.
- Describe the use of shell and solid models in order to analyse reinforced composite structures.
- Identify the parameterization possible in ACP for the targeted optimization of fibre composite structures.
- Explain the essential failure criteria and their applications.
- Identify the importance of recycling and circular economy.


Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Design components, using fibre reinforced composite materials and sandwich structures.
- Analyse, simulate and verify the strength of components made of fibre reinforced composite materials and sandwich structures.
- Use the tool Ansys Composite PrepPost effectively on various types of structures.
- Apply the parameterization options available in ACP.


Upon completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Choose and apply the right design procedure, materials and methodology to design a component using fibre-reinforced materials.
- Design and manufacture small components by hand layup and vacuum assisted resin transfer
- methods. Furthermore, choose the correct adhesive and procedure in bonding laminates.
- Determine the strength of structural adhesive connections.
- Test and analytically verify the strength and stiffness of simple coupon specimens.
- Analytically verify the strength and stiffness of laminae and laminates used in simple structures,
- beams and stiffened panels.
- Apply the correct failure criterion for different fibre-reinforced composites and various applications.
- Apply the tool Ansys Composite PrepPost to 3D structures.
- Conclude if a structure should be modelled using shell or solid elements.
- Use the draping tool to effectively judge if a layup can be adapted to the correct shape.     



Teaching methods and study activities

- 6 x 3 lessons of traditional lectures ex cathedra
- 3 x 3 lessons of introductory lab work. The students will use more time along the semester
- 3 x 3 lessons based on computer simulations
- The workload for the students is expected to be 138 hours.

Study Activity Model
Category 1, Initiated by the lecturer with the participation of lecturer and students: 21 hours – 16%
Category 2: Initiated by lecturer with participation of students: 60 hours – 43 %
Category 3: Initiated by students with participation of students: 52 hours – 38 %
Category 4: Initiated by students with the participation of lecturer and students: 5 hours – 4%


- Gipson, R., Principles of composite material mechanics, 4th edition 2016, CRC Press
- Ansys Help file




Requirements for attending examination
Mandatory course activities completed. Course assignment handed in before deadline

Type of examination:
Individual oral examination based
upon a subject found by draw.
No preparation
Examinations account for  100 % of final grade
Internal censor

Allowed tools:

Please note that re-examinations may take a different form than the ordinary exams.

Grading criteria

Additional information



Paula Macias Vera

Valid from

8/1/2020 12:00:00 AM

Course type

7. semester
Elective for Mechanical Engineering