The module descriptors for this programme can be found below.

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.

Lightweight Structures S3

Module aims

The module takes you through the mechanics of composite materials and foams, as well as sandwich construction. It delivers the fundamentals of analysis of lightweight structures, including design optimisation.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, you should be able to:
1. Describe and analyse the deformation and failure of fibre composites and cellular solids; 
2. Appraise the principles of sandwich construction, sandwich design and optimisation. 
3. Perform Finite Element analysis of sandwich structures in Abaqus.
AHEP Learning Outcomes: SM7M, SM9M, EA6M, EA7M, P12M, P10m

Module syllabus

Micromechanics of fibre composites and foams, constitutive models for both types of solids, lamination theory.
Methods to assess these classes of solids against failure; different failure theories and progressive failure of laminates.
Edge effects in laminates.
Impact response and buckling of composite plates.
Sandwich construction, check and design optimisation.

Teaching methods

The module will be delivered primarily through large-class lectures introducing the key concepts and methods, supported by a variety of delivery methods combining the traditional and the technological.  The content is presented via a combination of slides, whiteboard and visualizer.

Learning will be reinforced through tutorial question sheets and computational assignment featuring analytical and computational tasks representative of those carried out by practising engineers.


This module presents opportunities for both formative and summative assessment.  
You will be formatively assessed through progress tests and tutorial sessions. 
You will have additional opportunities to self-assess your learning via tutorial problem sheets. 
You will be summatively assessed by a written closed-book examination at the end of the module.
Assessment type Assessment description Weighting Pass mark
Examination Closed-book written examination 100% 50%
You will receive feedback on examinations in the form of an examination feedback report on the performance of the entire cohort.
You will receive feedback on your performance whilst undertaking tutorial exercises, during which you will also receive instruction on the correct solution to tutorial problems.
Further individual feedback will be available to you on request via this module’s online feedback forum, through staff office hours and discussions with tutors. 

Module leaders

Dr Vito Tagarielli