Most technological innovations have involved some major advance in materials processing or application. The devices and machines we rely on daily would not be possible without advances in polymers, ceramics, metals, and composites. Advances in composite material have enabled a broad range of innovations including, but not limited to, lightweight structural components in planes, boats, and cars, high temperature turbine and rocket engine components, ultra-lightweight bike frames, and prosthetic running blades for Paralympians. This class provides an overview of composites and how they are used in a wide variety of fields. Students will learn about the different classes of composites, the influence of composites constituents on properties, composite manufacturing methods, designing with composites, and how composites are used in a variety of applications including aerospace, automotive, biomedical, defense, energy, and sports/recreation.
In several team-based project experiences, students will learn how to apply the design process to design, build, and test composite materials to meet specific design challenges. Students will study the engineering aspects that drive material performance requirements and learn how to balance competing requirements when designing composite materials for specific applications. Throughout the semester, students will learn technical communication, teamwork, and problem solving, and students will write and/or present a variety of reports documenting their challenge, their approaches to meeting the challenge, and their progress towards meeting the goal.