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Syllabus for

Academic year
TME240 - Composite mechanics
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-21 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPAME
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Mechanical Engineering

Teaching language: English
Application code: 03118
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: D+

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0111 Examination 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c   17 Mar 2021 am J_DATA,  09 Jun 2021 am J_DATA,  24 Aug 2021 am J_DATA

In programs

MPAME APPLIED MECHANICS, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Leif Asp

  Go to Course Homepage


General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

-       Basic course in solid mechanics.
-       Basics of MATLAB including e.g.:
        o    loops
        o    matrix and vector operations and multiplications
        o    visualisation
If the student has not already acquired this knowledge before the course starts, the student is expected to do so during the first week of the course by means of reading additional material and performing tutorials recommended by the teachers. Please not that a significant part of the examination (more than one computer assignment) will require the use of MATLAB (or another programming language but then with less support from the teachers).

-       A basic course in the finite element method (FEM) or corresponding knowledge in:
        o   Weak formulation of governing equations
        o   FE formulation of governing equations
        o   Displacement approximations through (element) shape functions
        o   Concepts of stiffness matrix and force vector
        o   Numerical integration
        o   Assembly of stiffness matrix and force vector
If the student has not already familiar with these topics before the course starts, the student is expected to do so (preferably before the course starts but) at the latest during the first two weeks of the course by means of reading additional material recommended by the teachers. Some repetition of the basic concepts will included in the course before specialising to laminated composite plates. However, in order to understand the full contents of the course, any student without a basic course in FEM will have to take own responsibility for learning the basics as stated above.
-       Basic concepts of Kirchhoff plate theory (e.g. from Mechanics of solids TME235)


The purpose of the course is to provide comprehensive knowledge and understanding of composite materials and their mechanical behaviour with applications to composite structures common in industrial applications. This will include handbook assessment as well as more modern design evaluation methods such as the Finite Element Method. Different scales, from a single fibre and its interaction with the surrounding matrix via the concept of laminate theory up to an entire structure, will be treated; from micromechanics through levels of homogenisation up to macromechanics. Special emphasis is put on explaining failure mechanisms and modes, i.e. fibre breakage, matrix cracking, elastic buckling and progressive laminate failure.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

  • List and explain the basics of several manufacturing procedures, their applicability and limitations.
  • Explain elastic anisotropy and the special cases relevant for composites: orthotropy and transversal isotropy
  • Explain basic steps in homogenisation of heterogeneous materials including the Voigt and Reuss assumptions. This includes derivation and calculation of engineering constants for a composite ply based on homogenisation of a fibre-matrix unit cell.
  • Derive the coupling between membrane and bending/torsion deformation and related generalised stress resultants (normal force and moment per unit length)
  • Apply classical laminate theory to calculate the stress distribution in a composite laminate subjected to mechanical as well as thermal loads
  • Assess a composite structure with respect to various failure modes based on handbook calculations and FEM.
  • Derive a finite element formulation for a composite plate and use that as basis for implementing code in MATLAB to solve plate problems by FEM


Elastic anisotropy; Viscoelasticity; Homogenisation of lamina properties; Laminate theory; Plate theory (Kirchhoff-Love and Mindlin-Reissner); Finite element formulation of composite plates; Manufacturing of fibre composites; Failure of composite structures; Structural assessment of fibre composites using commercial software (ANSYS).   


The course is organised into approximately 30 h of lectures (presentation of relevant theory), 16h of tutorial sessions (clarification/application of theory by problem solving) and 16 h of computer classes (consultation for computer assignments). LATER APPLICATIONS: Project course in applied mechanics, Finite element method - solids.


The course literature is to be announced on the course home page at least two weeks before the course starts.

Examination including compulsory elements

Computer assignments and a final written exam.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.