KB7006 - Composite Materials and Lightweight Structures

What will I learn on this module?

You will extend your knowledge of the theory and application of engineered materials through mechanical and structural analysis. you will apply knowledge of composites, their processing, manufacturing methods and design considerations in advanced composite materials and learn about their application.
You will learn topics such as; design qualities, topology, material optimisation and maunfacturing processes through examplesin the context of lightweight structures in aerospace, automotive and general engineering.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through engagement with the tutors in lectures, seminars and design workshops. Design workshops allow you to consider specific examples enabling you to integrate theory and practice in design and analysis within the context of lightweight structures made of composite materials.

Formative assessment will offer learning opportunities through feedback during the discussions with tutors in and out of the classroom. You will work on problem solving through worksheets in class and through workshop practice on design and analysis of lightweight structures made of composite materials, together with some use of case study work in the lecture to promote an interactive learning environment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Direct contact with the tutors will provide you with support both in class and through the eLearning portal. In addition the Departemnt’s open door policy and email will offer you the opportunity to develop professional methods of engaging with support which will assist you as you progress in your career as an engineer.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

You will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge which is at the forefront of composite materials and their applications.
MLO2. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of performing essential calculations for predicting the elastic properties of fibrous composites based on the constituent properties with applications in conventional and smart composite structures.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. MLO3. Critically appraise key features of aerospace and automotive lightweight structures and to use the ideas developed in the analysis of composites towards designing aerospace and automotive lightweight structures.
2. MLO4. Optimised methods in topological and material selection for lightweight structures.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
MLO5. Demonstrate increase awareness of the environmental impact of engineering products and how lightweight structures have improved engineering performance with less environmental impact.

How will I be assessed?

Summative Assessments

1. Coursework- (50%, 3000 words or equivalent) assessing MLOs. 1, 3, 4 & 5
2. Examination (50%, 2 hr)
This will assess MLOs 1, 2 & 3.

Written individual feedback will be given on your summative assessments within 20 working days of submission.

Formative Assessments

1. You will be formativly assessed on all learning outcomes during the workshop sessions. Discussion with the tutors and reflection on your performance will allow you to continuously monitor your performance and feed this forward for improvement.





Module abstract

Lightweight structures are the key to many advances in aerospace, automotive, energy, and bio-engineering sectors. This is seen in more fuel-efficient cars with reduced emissions, multi-MW wind turbines reducing the cost of cheaper renewable energy and safer long-range aircraft are just examples of the influence of lightweight structures on our daily life.. Delivery method of this module provide you with an opportunity to put knowledge and skills into practice and design lightweight structures with applications to mechanical, aerospace, automotive and bio-engineering.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
2 other options available

Department Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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