Engineering Composites (ECS)

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers the minor in Engineering Composites to Mechanical Engineering students and non-Mechanical Engineering students who seek a strong education in the mechanical behavior of composite materials.  This minor is intended for students with a strong background in engineering or physical science.  Engineering composites are used widely in many industries including aerospace, civil, naval, medical, and automotive; examples can be seen in aircraft, yachts, motor vehicles, dental fillings and a wide range of military equipment. Engineering composites can be designed with high stiffness, high strength and light weight, making them efficient as structural load bearing components.  They constitute an extremely broad and versatile class of materials that encompass a wide range of constituents, length scales and configurations.  Examples include fiber reinforced polymer composites, metal matrix composites, particle reinforced composites, nano-reinforced composites. Composites are inherently more complex than monolithic engineering materials that students are used to (e.g. metals and ceramics). They are heterogeneous, anisotropic and predicting their mechanical behavior and failure is far more challenging than that of conventional structural materials. In comparison to conventional materials, designing with composites admits tremendous possibility, but requires specialized analysis methods.  This minor will provide the students with the background as well as the analysis and design methods to provide a foundation for using engineering composites effectively. To fulfill this outcome, three main topics will be addressed: 1) Theoretical background, analysis and design; 2) Fabrication; and 3) Characterization. Students will learn how to fabricate composites, experimentally measure their relevant mechanical properties, and incorporate them into engineering designs.  Students will gain invaluable insight into engineering composites, give them a competitive edge in an engineering market that is becoming increasingly dependent on engineering composites.