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ME 562 Fiber-Reinforced Composite Materials

Catalog Description

ME 562 Fiber-Reinforced Composite Materials (3). Prerequisite: ME 422. Overview of composite materials, stress/strain analysis of a polymer matrix fiber-reinforced composite ply, classical lamination theory, failure criteria, design approaches, manufacturing methods, and applications for structural polymeric composites.

Prerequisites by Topic

  1. Matrix algebra
  2. Stress analysis
  3. Failure theories


M.E. Tuttle, Structural Analysis of Polymer Matrix Composite Materials, Marcel-Dekker, 2004.


R.D. Bradshaw, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Course Learning Outcomes

This course provides engineering undergraduate and graduate students an introduction to the mechanics of fiber-reinforced laminated composite plates. The student will learn the methods of laminated plate stress analysis ranging from the behavior of a single unidirectional fiber-reinforced ply to the response of a number of differently oriented plies bonded together to form a single laminate. The implications of various layup approaches will be investigated. The ultimate strength of laminates will be considered using several common failure theories. Materials and fabrication methods for polymer matrix composites will be presented. The course will conclude with a series of short topics which may include test methods for property determination, design philosophy, micromechanics, damage tolerance, stress concentrations, edge effects and delamination.

Topics Covered

  1. Introduction to composite materials (2 classes)
  2. Stress/strain behavior of a unidirectional ply (6 classes)
  3. Rotation of stress/strain states (2 classes)
  4. Classical lamination theory (8 classes)
  5. Laminate stress/strain analysis (6 classes)
  6. Moisture/thermal effects (3 classes)
  7. Failure theories and strength analysis (4 classes)
  8. Composite fabrication and manufacturing methods (3 classes)
  9. Design for composite applications (3 classes)
  10. Special topics (3 classes)
  11. Examinations (2 classes and 2½ hour final exam)

Computer Use

Because of the many calculations involved, stress analysis of composite laminates is most easily performed using computer methods. Laminate analysis software provided by the instructor will be used for many class assignments. Students may also choose to use other software packages (MATLAB, MathCad, etc.) or create their own programs.

Class/Laboratory Schedule

Three 50 minute sessions per week devoted to lecture, discussion, and problem solving.

Graduate Requirements

Graduate students are required to complete a design project. This will involve specifying an appropriate fiber-reinforced composite plate to support a given set of loading conditions as well as validating the obtained design. Other comparable projects may be substituted at the instructor’s discretion.


Course grade is based upon homework, midterm examinations, a design project if required, and a final exam.

Curriculum Criterion Contribution

Engineering science: 3 credits.

Relationship to Program Outcomes

This course supports Mechanical Engineering Department B.Sc. program objectives by developing:

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to identify, formulate and solve problems in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, life-long learning in the field of mechanical engineering.
  • An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern tools necessary for the practice of mechanical engineering.

Prepared by R. D. Bradshaw, June 2009

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