2020-2021 / MECA0502-1

Mechanics of composites


26h Th, 26h Pr

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Aerospace Engineering, professional focus in turbomachinery aeromechanics (THRUST)5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Aerospace Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Mechanical Engineering (EMSHIP+, Erasmus Mundus)5 crédits 


Michaël Bruyneel

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course introduces different aspects of fibre-reinforced plastic materials :
- overall description : constituents, matrix and fiber architecture, industrial applications (aerospace, automotive, energy), links between process, microstructure, material properties and structural performance.
- mechanical properties : linear elasticity of orthotropic (and anisotropic) materials, classical laminate theory (CLT), progressive damage and failure mechanisms, edge effects, humidity and temperature effects.
- homogenization : principles, mean-field homogenization applied to linear elasticity, extension to elastoplasticity, applications to short and continuous fibre-reinforced plastics.
- numerical simulation : linear and nonlinear finite element analysis (buckling, post-buckling, collapse, nonlinear material).
- design of composite structures : design rules and manufacturing constraints, parameterizations and optimization algorithms, stacking sequence optimization.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of the course, students should have acquired the following knowledge and skills :
- an overview of the different kinds of composites and their constituents;
- linear and nonlinear mechanical characteristics of continuous fiber laminates, including damage and failure mechanisms ;
- homogenization techniques and basis multi-scale material modeling ;
- Integrated Computational Mechanical/Material Engineering (ICME): Integration of process, material and structural modeling.
- the classical laminate theory ;
- main design rules and stacking sequence optimization of composite laminates;
- a theoretical knowledge of manufacturing process and related constraints;
- the ability to analyse a composite structure with industrial finite element software.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

A background in continuum mechanics and finite element methods is required.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Theoretical concepts are explained during formal lectures and seminars. All speakers have a strong industrial background and share their practical experience with students. Exercise sessions are meant to put the classical laminate theory into practice (analysis of continuous fiber laminate properties with analytically calculated ABD matrices). Students have individual graded projects involving SAMCEF finite element software and Digimat, which are introduced during computer sessions.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Theoretical lectures are taught in class by the professor. Exercise sessions are led by the assistants. Mandatory practical sessions are organized in a computer room where numerical simulation tools are available.

Organisational adjustments related to the current health context

An adaptation of the agenda of lectures (into 2 groups) was provided to the students
Writen exam is maintained.

Recommended or required readings

References :
Lecture notes (contact M. Bruyneel)
Strength and life of composites, S.W. Tsai, ed. JEC Composites Publication: homogenization, orthotropy, CLT, failure theories.
Matériaux composites, D. Gay, ed. Hermes, Paris, 2005: homogenization, orthotropy, CLT, failure theories, lots of applications.
Composite airframe structures, M.C.Y. Niu, ed. Conmilit Press LTd. Hong Kong, 1992: testing, manufacturing, applications.
Optimisation des structures mécaniques: méthodes numériques et éléments finis, M. Bruyneel, J.C. Craveur, P. Gourmelen, ed. Dunod, Paris, 2014 : composite materials
Structures en matériaux composites: caculs paéments finis, Jetteur, Bruyneel, Craveur, DUNOD, 2019.

Assessment methods and criteria

Below you will find information on the evaluation methods planned for in-person and remote exams as well as those planned for hybrid sessions. Depending on how the health crisis evolves, the chosen method will be communicated to you no later than one month before the start of the exam session.

Written exam, theory (closed-book): 50% of the total points
Written exam, exercises (open book): 25% of the total points
Practical work on computer reports: 25% of the total points

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

Face-to-face classes will take place at B28 1.18.


Michaël Bruyneel (Michael.Bruyneel@ulg.ac.be
Martin Volvert (m.volvert@ulg.ac.be)(geoffrey.deliege@ulg.ac.be)