Course # 401 –

Composite Aircraft Structures Course


When a student completes this course she/he should be able to:

  • explain the need for Composites in aircraft structures
  • enumerate various fibers used in composite aircraft construction and the reasons for their use
  • describe different matrix systems and their advantages and shortcomings
  • have a good understanding of different methods of joining composites
  • be familiar with various composite failure modes and how to combat them
  • have a thorough understanding of various defects that can occur, how to detect/measure them
  • have a good knowledge of various testing and NDI aspects
  • describe the composite material qualification process and the building block approach
  • explain repair options for composite aircraft structures

Who should take this training:

Managers / Engineers / Materials Scientists / Inspectors / DERs in:

  • Aircraft Maintenance
  • Aircraft Production
  • Airline Liaison with OEM
  • Continuing Airworthiness
  • Aircraft Production
  • Helicopter Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Accident Investigation
  • Engine Overhaul
  • Materials Selection
  • Materials and Processing (M&P)
  • Automobile
  • Structural Analysis
  • Structural Design
  • Fatigue Crack Growth Analysis
  • Safety Officers
  • Wiring / Ageing Avionics
  • Regulatory Authority, NAAs
  • Corrosion Prevention & Control Programs (CPCP)
  • Metallurgy
  • Materials Process Engineers

From Industries including but not limited to:

  • Airlines
  • Defense Directorates
  • MROs, Repair Stations
  • Army
  • Aircraft and Component Manufacturers
  • Airforce
  • Technical College
  • Navy
  • Civil Aviation Authorities
  • Aircraft Manufacturers
  • Material Suppliers
  • Universities
  • Accident Investigation Agencies, NTSB
  • Structural Design
  • ASI (Aviation Safety Inspectors)


Course# 401

Composite Aircraft Structures Course

Aircraft Structural Engineers, Airline and Helicopter Maintenance Engineers and Senior Technicians, Design Engineers, Civil Aviation Administrators.

1.    Introduction
Why Composites? Reinforcement Optimization Aircraft Weight, Thermal and Stiffness Properties Fatigue Resistance

2.    Fibers
Glass Graphite Aramid Boron Alumina Asbestos
Grades, Strengths, Surface Treatments, Physical, Chemical, Fatigue & Impact Properties

3.    Resins
Epoxy Maleimide Phenolic Polyimide Thermosetting and Thermoplastic Systems

4.    Joining
Bonded Joints: Surface Preparation and Adhesive Selection, Wettability and Bonding, Configurations, Single-lap, Double-lap, Stepped-lap, Scarf Joints Mechanically Fastened Joints: Fastener Selection, Hole Preparation, Lay-up and Stacking Sequence, Joint Dimensions, Design Considerations

5.    Environment
Temperature Effects, Corrosion, Moisture Ingression, Thermal Spike, Hygrothermal Aging, Weathering, Erosion, Lightning, Stress Corrosion, Blistering

6.    Design, Applications
Mechanism of Reinforcement, Structural Sandwich Systems, Transport and Fighter Aircraft, Propeller Blades, Helicopter Blades, Jet Engines

7.    Micro/Macro Mechanisms
Isotropic and Orthotropic Laminae, Micromechanical Analysis of Continuous Fiber and Discontinuous Fiber Laminae, Laminated Beams and Plates, Interlaminar Stresses and Edge Effects

8.    Damage, Fracture
Failure Criteria, Debonding, Fiber Pullout, Delamination, Matrix Cracking, Toughness Enhancement of Matrices, Damage-based Strength Model, Failure Mechanisms and Toughness Maps, Fatigue Damage Mechanics and Lifetime Prediction, Variable Amplitude Loading Effects

9.    Defects, Testing, Quality Control
A List of Defects, Material Quality Revalidation, BVID (Barely Visible Impact Damage), Visual Inspection, Tap Test, Through Transmission and Pulse-Echo Ultrasonics, Dry-coupled Roller Probes, Air-coupled Probes, Ultrasonic Spectroscopy, SIAM R-theta System, X-ray Radiography, Eddy Current, Neutron Radiography, Acoustic Emission, Mechanical Impedance Testing, Thermography.

10.  Composite Material Qualification Process
Building Block Approach

11.  Repair
Bonded vs. Bolted Repairs, Combined Bolted/Bonded Repairs, Adhesive Testing, Surface Treatments, Anodizing, Special Considerations in Skin Repairs, Life Prediction, Crack Patching, Thermal Analysis, The Airworthiness Patch, Crack Growth, Relative Hot/Wet Strengths of Various Repair Configurations

This syllabus is for guidance only; the syllabus may change retaining the current flavor.