Composites

How high performance composite materials are increasingly important in the production of aircraft.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start date
October 2021
Campus: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits

Apply now

Overview

This course addresses the broad field of advanced composites, specifically the manufacturing and characterisation of composites and engineering design.

New aircraft and other challenging engineering applications are becoming increasingly dependent upon the unique capabilities of high performance composite materials.

This course addresses the broad field of advanced composites and is presented by experts in the field from the College, other universities, major aerospace companies and government research organisations.

It will appeal to graduates of engineering, materials science, physics or chemistry. You will develop an outstanding knowledge of composite technology, allowing you to take up specialist roles in industry and research.

The facilities in the Department are of a high standard with numerous technicians on-hand to support you when using the equipment and software in the laboratories and workshops.

The programme has been designed to provide a breadth and depth of knowledge of composite materials that will be of relevance to a wide range of companies who use these materials.

This is reflected by the professional accreditation awarded to the programme, as detailed below. Many of the research projects and literature review topics proposed to students are from industry contacts.

The programme is one of the primary providers of postgraduate education in composite materials in Europe and strives to pursue excellence through the delivery of a comprehensive and integrated programme attracting ambitious applicants of high intellectual calibre.

Professional accreditation

The Department of Aeronautics' current professional accreditation agreement is due to be renewed and the department is seeking re-accreditation for its courses. We expect to be successful in this renewal.

This degree has previously been professionally accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and The Royal Aeronautical Society, between 2015 and 2019.

Careers

Graduates of this MSc are in high demand and possess the skills necessary for leading roles in design, research, development and manufacturing.

Our graduates find employment in a variety of industries from the aerospace and motorsport sectors to the marine and offshore sectors, from the sports goods industry to civil engineering.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Please note that the curriculum of this programme is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

Structure

Core modules

You take the core modules below.

Composites 1

This module provides an overview of the science, technology and application of composite materials. The contents of this module include introducing the different types of reinforcing fibres and the importance of fibre-matrix interface in a composite material. We will also cover the fundamentals of ceramic, polymer and metallic matrices. 

Composites 2

This module will go in depth into how composites are manufactured and the mechanical performance of composite materials. We will discuss the various composite manufacturing techniques. In addition to this, we will also cover the micromechanics of continuous and short fibre-reinforced composite materials, as well as how to predict the stiffness and strength. This module will also provide further guidance on how best to mechanically test composite materials. 

Composites 3

This paper is made up of multiple sub-modules that discuss the recycling and lifecycle analysis of composite materials, the joining and repair of composite materials, classical lamination theory and its application for predicting the deformation and strength of laminated composites. We will also discuss the design of composite materials, as well as the various analytical techniques used to characterise the properties of composite materials. 

Composites 4

This module will introduce other important aspects of a composite material. We start with stress analysis, which will include analysis of laminated beams, free edge stresses in laminates, the effect of holes on the strength of laminates and the buckling of laminated plates. This module will then cover the fracture of composites, as well as the fatigue and impact performance of a composite material. The environmental behaviour of composite materials will also be covered in this module. 

Revision Stress Analysis

This course is intended to introduce the basics of stress analysis. It will provide a refresher for those who have already covered stress analysis in their first degree course. For those who have had no previous teaching in this topic, the course will provide a grounding in the basic principles which, together with further reading, will enable you to undertake other lectures courses on your MSc which require aspects of stress analysis techniques.

Introduction to Labs

This will prepare students for the laboratory programme.

Finite Element Analysis

 This aims to help you understand the basic principles of FE, and to understand practical modelling issues. You will assess an FE solution (quality control), and gain hands-on experience with a commercial FE package.

Technical Writing and Presentations

This introduces generic guidelines for good practice in technical writing. 

Composites: Laboratories

The course aims to give an appreciation of the NDT techniques used with composites and to enable students to select appropriate inspection methods for different composite structures and components

Literature Review

This course will help you to develop the skills required to identify, assimilate and communicate an in-depth technical review of a specific topic in the composites field.

Design Study 

This course is designed to be an opportunity to integrate and apply the knowledge and skills learned in the preceding lecture courses/modules.

Project

  • Major Individual Research Project

You will complete an extensive final project which can be undertaken in industry.

Full-time students will complete their project between May and September, either on campus or in industry.

Part-time students are expected to undertake the bulk of their project in industry.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Laboratory work
  • Skills workshops
  • Blackboard VLE
  • Student Portal on Sharepoint
  • Panopto recordings
  • Major Individual Research Project
  • Design Study

Assessment methods

  • Written Examinations
  • Laboratory log book
  • Presentations (solo and group)
  • Long and short written reports (solo and group)
  • Literature Review

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science, physics or chemistry.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

Competence standards

Our competence standards highlight the core skills students should be able to demonstrate by the end of this course.

View the Department's competence standards for MSc Composites: the Science, Technology and Engineering Application of Advanced Composites [pdf]

We believe in providing the widest practicable access to all of our degree programmes and will make reasonable adjustments wherever possible to support your study. For more information, please contact the Department using the contact details below.

Department of Aeronautics

T: +44 (0)20 7594 5066
E: aero.msc-admissions@imperial.ac.uk

How to apply

Admissions

Making an application

Apply online

All applicants must apply online.

Visit our Admissions website for details on the application process.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

Application fee

For 2021–22 entry, we are introducing a pilot application fee for our Master's courses. This helps cover some of the administrative and staffing costs associated with processing the large volume of applications we receive.

This fee will be £80 per application and not per course. 

We will waive the fee for any applicant – Home or Overseas – who demonstrates that they are experiencing financial hardship.

There is no application fee for Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas or PhDs. The fee for MBA applications to the Imperial College Business School is £135. 

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

ATAS certificate (overseas candidates)

An ATAS certificate is required for all visa-nationals, with the exception of EEA/Swiss nationals and nationals of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA.

To apply for an ATAS certificate online, you will need your programme’s Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) code and ‘descriptor’, as well as your university supervisor name. For this course, these are:

CAH codeDescriptorSupervisor name
CAH10-01-04 aeronautical and aerospace engineering Professor Paul Robinson

Your student visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support website.

Further questions?

Find answers to your questions about admissions. Answers cover COVID-19, English language requirements, Visas and more.

Visit the FAQs

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

Find out more about fees and funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Home rate of tuition

2021 entry

£14,650 per year

* Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2021 will apply to fees for the academic year 2021–2022.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Home fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students with Citizens' rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication). 

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Overseas rate of tuition

2021 entry

£34,000 per year

* Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2021 will apply to fees for the academic year 2021–2022.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Overseas fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication). 

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you're a UK national, or EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government, if you meet certain criteria.

For 2020-21 entry, the maximum amount was of £11,222. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Find out more about our scholarships to see what you might be eligible for.

A number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students. Find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

Aeronautics

Got a question?

T: +44(0) 20 7594 5066
E: aero.msc-admissions@imperial.ac.uk

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