Online Course: Design of Lightweight Structures I: Metals and Composites

TU Delft Open & Online Education

Programme Description

Online Course: Design of Lightweight Structures I: Metals and Composites

TU Delft Open & Online Education

Next admission period opens February 2018


Economics and Ecologics go hand in hand for aircraft. So how do we get structures light and keep safety, durability, maintainability and other aspects up to par? You need knowledge about design, base materials and manufacturing to get successful. The interaction between these three, for composites called the Trinity, is crucial. What is the influence of weave styles on the feasible shapes you can produce with a press process? Which decisions do I have to make, before I can specify what is repairable by the customer and what needs to be repaired by the OEM? Why is there an absolute size effect for holes in plates?

The course not only supports the understanding why structures are as they are but also enlightens you in decisions you have to make to get to these lightweight structures. This course uses videos created with Video scribe software, so it has more impact on the viewer than traditional filmed material. Next to these videos, written course material is available, where we selected material from CRC which is free for many students. Finally, we tried to minimize the number of mathematical expressions in this course, as those are often preventing people from the real understanding of the problem.

For anyone who is involved in the design process of lightweight structures. You will understand why structures are as they are. You can point out areas of attention, as you will have obtained a gut feeling for the design of (composite) lightweight structures.

After succeeding this course you should be able to explain parameters and their relationships, which play a role in the development of lightweight structures and parts.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • judge a structural design on conditions required to call a design a lightweight design.
  • identify carbon glass aramid and Dyneema fibers
  • identify metals from composites on micro and macro scale.
  • relate lightweight materials to typical strong and weak points in their performance.
  • give examples of fibre morphologies
  • argue the correlation between fibre content, orientation control, fibre length, manufacturing process, and application.
  • recall & argue unwanted stress distributions in composite materials


Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to lightweight structures. From function to the trinity of lightweight design. Design strategies to get to a lightweight design.

Week 2: Composites and metals, what you need to know, and what the differences are.

Week 3: Manufacturing, the impact of it on your design.

Week 4: How does failure occur, how do we test this and what about the design allowable resulting from these tests.

Week 5: The basics of micromechanics of composites.

Week 6: The basics of macro-mechanics of composites, with the ABD matrix and the effects of free edges.

Week 7: Design of composite structures, rules of thumb, with open and fill holes. Repair of composite structures.


  • Cost: € 750
  • Course Length: 7 weeks
  • Estimated Effort: 7 - 8 hours per week
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 17, 2018
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750 EUR
Netherlands - Delft
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