The module descriptors for our undergraduate courses can be found below:

  • Four year Aeronautical Engineering degree (H401)
  • Four year Aeronautical Engineering with a Year Abroad stream (H410)

Students on our H420 programme follow the same programme as the H401 spending fourth year in industry.

The descriptors for all programmes are the same (including H411).


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 2-hour closed-book written examination in January 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