Design of Composite Structures
Composite materials have many strength and stiffness advantages over conventional metals because of high strength-to-weight and high stiffness-to-weight characteristics. Those advantages, plus many others, have led to a remarkably wide range of applications since the early 1900s. Composite structures have been a revolutionary development since the 1960s introduction of advanced fibers such as graphite and, to a lesser extent, boron beyond fiberglass which has been in common use since the 1940s. First, military aircraft and sporting goods equipment such as golf clubs and tennis rackets were made with graphite and boron fibers. More recently, graphite-fiber composites spread to commercial aircraft, cars, and trucks, as well as to many other consumer products.
This book is an introduction to the many concepts essential to the design of composite structures as a follow-up to the author’s analysis book, Mechanics of Composite Materials, which has been in print since 1975 with a second edition in 1999. Real design of composite structures is a complex melding of knowledge about analysis, design philosophy, manufacturing, and a massive amount of detailed information about joints, materials, past experience, failure criteria, etc. The fundamentals of the various aspects that influence the design are addressed with straight-forward examples of actual composite structures. Those examples serve to illustrate the experience and advantages of composite structures. Because a design is a failure if it cannot be built, attention is given to the many manufacturing techniques for composite structures. Material selection and configuration selection are also major choices in the design process. Joints and attachments plus failure criteria are common points of weakness in any design. Design is actually a set of optimization concepts, so mathematical optimization is briefly addressed. Finally, a simplified design-analysis philosophy is addressed.