Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Yi Zhao

Committee Member

Dr. Magdy Attia

Committee Member

Dr. Frank Radosta


Present generations rely heavily on the use of petroleum as their primary means of transportation. As the cost of petroleum continues to escalate, the need for lightweight structures for vehicle applications becomes more evident. The ability to engineer materials so that they possess desired application specific properties and characteristics has made tremendous progress in the past century. Consequently, the use of these composite materials for aircraft weight reduction has been investigated for decades.

The aerospace industry often uses composite materials to make a laminated composite structure where each constituent ply of the laminate has its own material properties. This anisotropic behavior of a fiber-reinforced laminate (FRL) is discussed methodically throughout this research. Moreover, the successful design of an FRL is dependent upon the accuracy of analyzing its structural limits. Therefore, the failure criteria used to specify an FRL's failure limits are significant.

Although useful formulaic methods have been developed for analyzing fiber-reinforced laminates, these calculations can be quite tedious when used in an iterative structural design process. Development of software that can conduct computer-aided laminate failure analysis can provide an indispensable tool for the design of fiber-reinforced laminate composites. Hence, this research focuses on the development of such software, CFA (Composite Failure Analysis). Even though fiber-reinforced laminate failure analysis is not a trivial topic, CFA was developed to provide a knowledgeable engineer with an intelligible software utensil for the design of fiber-reinforced laminates. Additionally, CFA's simplistic exploitation of Excel® and MatLab® make it an indispensable tool for engineering education instruction.

CFA exhibits an immense potential for the advancement of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's educational prowess in the field of composite materials. With its ability to perform fiber-reinforced laminate failure analysis using the universal engineering software platforms of Excel® and MatLab®, CFA provides the university with a novel capability for future composite materials research.