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

Weight reduction is a key factor in the development of materials and components for use in many industries. Lightweight structures are widely used for this purpose. However, these structures present challenges: they need to be light but also safe, durable and easy to maintain. How can this be done?

This course provides an introduction to lightweight structures, starting with the "trinity" - the interaction between shape design, base material, and manufacturing. The evidence gained from both successes and failures demonstrates that the interaction between these three elements is crucial for successful designs and end products.

The course covers the design principles of lightweight structures; durability and fatigue; testing; manufacturing methods and mechanics. The main focus is on structures made with composites but the use of metals will be addressed as well.

This course is for practicing engineers and managers in industries and engineering disciplines who are involved in the design process of lightweight structures or components. It will also act as a valuable refresher course for experienced engineers.

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

  • Know what design choices you have to make for different requirements
  • Understand how lightweight composites affect your choices with regards to structural layouts
  • Analyze the conditions required to categorize a design as a lightweight design
  • Identify various types of materials (including carbon, glass, aramid, Dyneema fibers, thermoplastic and thermoset polymers, and more)
  • Distinguish composites from metals on a micro and macro scale
  • Determine typical strong and weak points in the performance of lightweight structures
  • Examine fibre morphologies
  • Be able to explain the parameters and their relationships, which play a role in the development of lightweight structures and components
  • Understand the correlation between fibre content, orientation control, fibre length, manufacturing process and application
  • Familiarize yourself with 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.

Assignment(s) and Assessment

Written exam via online proctoring.

Date of proctored exam: November 1, 2018 (an indication - you may choose your own date of exam).

Date of resit: January 30, 2019.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated September 18, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Part time
750 EUR