MEng Materials Science and Engineering with Textiles Technology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Advanced Composites

Course unit fact file
Unit code MATS44102
Credit rating 15
Unit level Level 7
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Materials
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit gives an introduction to the processing, structure and properties of advanced composite materials, including nano-composites.  


The unit aims to:

Introduce different types of composites and their advantages and disadvantages compared to traditional engineering materials.  On the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • define the production and characterisation techniques applicable to polymer nanocomposites.
  • discuss the behaviour of nanocomposite materials; with a focus on mechanical properties as well as thermal, and electrical conductivity, and combinations to provide multi-functionality.
  • describe the basic micromechanics of particulate, long and short fibre reinforced composites; 
  • describe the main technologies for the production of components from composite materials;
  • apply the theory which underlies these processing operations;
  • analyse stiffness and strength of unidirectional laminates, failure criteria
  • Destructive and Non-destructive testing of composites


Learning outcomes

A greater depth of the learning outcomes will be covered in the following sections:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Intellectual skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities

Teaching and learning methods

Facilitated learning activities (Including lectures, tutorials and a practical)

Independent learning activities (Including practical writing, research and private study)

Blackboard – All lecture notes, questions sheets and handouts will be available electronically


Knowledge and understanding

a)       Explain the electrical and thermal transport behaviour of nanocomposite materials.

b)      Identify and describe the beneficial effects of nanoscale reinforcements and how these affect the micromechanics as well as thermal and electrical properties.

c)       Explain the nature and applications of composite materials.

d)      Explain the basic theory describing the mechanical properties (stiffness and strength) of particulate- and fibre-reinforced composites; Stress analysis and failure criteria

e)      Describe the details of the technologies for the production of composite artefacts

f)       Explain the interrelation between the design and manufacture of polymer composite artefacts

Intellectual skills

a)       Identify the appropriate technologies for the production of given artefacts.

b)      Evaluate a component design and select an appropriate process ‘chain’ (material-process combination)

c)       Apply models to predict the mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of composite materials.

Practical skills

a)      Solve problems relating to applications of composite materials.

b)      Estimate stiffness and ultimate strength of laminated plates

Transferable skills and personal qualities

a)      Data analysis and application to relate polymer, metal, ceramic and composite structure and properties.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Feedback given (written and verbal)

Recommended reading

  • Introduction to Composite Materials, D. Hull, T.W. Clyne. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996.
  • Introduction to Metal Matrix Composites by T.W. Clyne and P.J. Withers, Cambridge UP, 1993
  • Ceramic Matrix Composites, K.K. Chawla, Chapman & Hall, 1993
  • Introduction to Polymers, Chapter 24, R.J. Young, P.A. Lovell, CRC Press, 2011
  • Manufacturing Processes for Advanced Composites, F.C. Campbell, Elsevier, 2004.
  • Processing of Composites [electronic resource] / R.S. Dave¿, A.C. Loos (editors), 2000, Knovel
  • E-book (available via library Electronic Resources).
  • Polymer Processing and Structure Development, A.N. Wilkinson, A.J. Ryan, Kluwer, 1998.
  • Manufacturing of Polymer Composites, B.T. A¿stro¿m, Chapman and Hall, 1997.
  • Liquid Moulding Technologies, C.D. Rudd, Woodhead, 1997.
  • Composite Materials: Functional Materials for Modern Technologies, D. Chung, Springer, 2003.
  • Polymer Nanocomposites: Electrical and Thermal Properties, Huang, X., Zhi, C., Springer 2016
  • Smart Polymer Nanocomposites: Energy Harvesting, Self-Healing and Shape Memory Applications, Ponnamma, P., Springer, 2017
  • Polymer Nanocomposites: Towards Multi-Functionality, Dasari, A., Springer 2016


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mark Bissett Unit coordinator

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