Composite Structures and Materials Module

Rationale

This module is part of a series of modules defining competencies that an engineering analyst or simulation engineer would be expected to possess in order to carry out safe and effective analyses in the various module areas. In this regard the modules may be considered to be defining standards of competency in this area. The competencies and modules as they stand would define necessary requirements, but not sufficient requirements, for safe and effective analysis and simulation. In particular, industry specific competencies and non-technical competencies have not yet been included, as discussed below.

Download Composite Material and Structures (CMS)_Statements of Competence

In general most modules will have specified pre-requisites and any pre-requisite modules should be examined for relevant competencies. It should also be recognised that most engineering analyses and simulations will involve competencies from quite a few modules.

Not all modules will be relevant to all analysts (e.g. buckling may not be an issue for the components being designed and manufactured by a particular company) and not all competencies in modules will be relevant to all analysts and organisations (e.g. welding may not be a process used and hence competencies relating to fatigue of welds may not be relevant).

As well as defining a general standard level of competence, the statements with their links to specific references, should also provide a good basis for informal learning in a work-based environment (a refresher for some and a basis for a move into new areas, preferably under the guidance of a mentor, for others). That is not to say that the competencies could not also be used for the development of short courses, text books or other learning material. For such structured purposes, the competencies would no doubt benefit from a re-sequencing in some areas. The competencies could also be used as the basis for interview questions and the production of self-test quizzes and even formal examinations. In this case each competency would benefit from the development of associated threshold statements, defining a base level of achievement as well as a comprehensive  level.

This module aims to provide a non-industry-specific coverage of necessary background and under-pinning for practicing analysts in the engineering composite materials and structures area. The following points are worthy of note:

1. It is recognized that effective analysis will require a much broader range of competences than is presented in this module. Many of these will be covered in other modules within the Competence Framework. However, it may be noted that non-technical competences relating to project management, finance, ethics, interpersonal skills, human resource management etc are not included at this time. New modules in these and other areas may be added to the competence framework in the future.

2. All competence statements and references can be modified, deleted or replaced as necessary. New modules can also be added. In this way, the competence framework can be tailored to particular sector or company needs.

3. The module is covers both basic and advanced topics, but does not address research topics, areas not in general use across industry sectors or techniques specific to a sector.

4. The primary focus is laminated fibre-reinforced structures. The module will be relevant to both particulate, short-fibre and long-fibre composites in general – although the focus is the latter (typically glass or carbon fibres in a thermoset matrix).

5. The particular challenges of biological composites, reinforced concrete and soils are not addressed.

6. The chemistry of fibres and matrices and issues such as wetting are not addressed. Some coverage of polymer chemistry is contained in the MATERIAL for ANALYSIS and SIMULATION module.

7. Manufacturing processes relevant to composites are not specifically addressed, although the impact of process on fibre direction, lay-up and properties is recognised.

8. Failure mechanisms are covered in a general way, although specific details and assessment procedures relating to fatigue and fracture for example, are not included.

9. Clearly effective analysis will require a range of industry-specific competences and these have yet to be developed. It is anticipated that in the future, various competence frameworks will be developed to address the needs of particular sectors. These generic modules will provide the basis for this.¬† This will involve the development of new modules as well as a “flavouring” of the current generic modules to provide specific industry focus.