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Composite Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

e-Learning course of 5-sessions; 2.5 hours per session

  • Time to take a closer look at Composites FEA?
  • Need a clear path through analysis setup and interpretation?
  • This course gives you the background for effective FEA

October 3rd - October 31st 2017 
07:00 PDT /  10:00 EDT / 15:00 BST / 16:00 CEST

: Daylight Savings will occur in late-October and early-November. We will always default to the Pacific time zone (first listed); to check against your time zone around the daylight saving change, click here

5-week online training course - One 2.5 hour session /week

Engineering Board PDH Credits: 12.5 hours*

Course Overview

Composite systems include many more factors than conventional metallic structures.

The objective of this course is to break down the composite analysis process into clearly defined steps, give an overview of the physics involved and show how to successfully implement practical solutions using Finite Element Analysis.

Moving to composite structures will allow you to explore: 

  • increased structural strength and stiffness to weight ratios
  • simpler manufacturing processes
  • more innovative design capabilities 

Composite materials span: 

  • cheap and freely available glass fiber reinforced systems
  • exotic and tailored carbon, boron or Kevlar systems
  • many other fiber and matrix systems

The challenge for the designer and analyst is to make decisions on the type of idealization and level of detail required in the Finite Element Analysis.  Your design may include: 

  • thick composite sections with large numbers of plies
  • regions of significant ply drop off
  • tee joints loaded in tension
  • structural shapes causing changes in draping angle or thickness

Analysis is further complicated by:

  • a wide range of failure theories
  • large amounts of stress and strain data for each ply 

We can help you plan a strategy for dealing with these challenges.

Free Composite Stiffness and Strength Calculator

All attendees on the course will be able to download a fully functioning Composite Stiffness and Strength Calculator, together with user guide.

  • Carry out the homework tasks
  • Explore composite layup stiffness and strength 
  • Calculate Failure Index and Strength Ratios 
  • Display ABD matrices
  • View full details of calculation ply by ply

Many past attendees have found this tool a useful supplement to post processing available in their usual Finite Element solution. Attendees will be entitled to future upgrades. Transition to standalone app coming soon.

Why an e-Learning Class

Travel and training budgets are always tight! The e-Learning course has been developed to help you meet your training needs.

If your company has a group of engineers, or specific training requirements across any subjects, please contact us to discuss options.

Course Program

Session CMP1

  • Introduction to composite systems
  • Strength and Stiffness of plies
  • Comparison with published data or test results
  • Ply angle effect
  • Simulation of single ply using FEA
  • Introduction to Failure Criteria
  • Homework

Session CMP2

  • Homework Review
  • Multi ply layups – evaluation of stiffness
  • A B D matrix terms and their importance in design and analysis
  • Interlaminar shear stresses
  • FEA model simulations of varying layups
  • Symmetric and balanced layups
  • Special types of Layup
  • Homework

Session CMP3

  • Homework review
  • Composite beam case study
  • Practical composite modeling
  • Inner or outer mold line considerations
  • Ply drop off, draping effects
  • Homework

Session CMP4

  • Homework review
  • Sandwich Panels
  • Isotropic Equivalent method
  • Laminate method
  • Solid Element method
  • Sheet and core Stability 
  • Comparison of 2D shell and solid element solutions
  • Bulkhead Sandwich Example
  • Edge Effectso Thin Shell and Solid comparisons
  • Plane Strain

Session CMP5

  • Advanced failure methods
  • Progressive ply failure methods
  • Cohesive Zone methods
  • Virtual Crack Closure method
  • Micromechanics of Composites

*Note: While we will make every attempt to follow the course outline, the schedule may be shifted at some point. However, ample notice will be given prior to the start of the course date with regards to the course schedule. 

Special Note(s):

Telephony surcharges may apply for attendees who are located outside of North America, South America and Europe. These surcharges are related to individuals who join the audio portion of the web-meeting by calling in to the provided toll/toll-free teleconferencing lines. We have made a VoIP option available so anyone attending the class can join using a headset (headphones w/ microphone) connected to the computer. There is no associated surcharge to utilize the VoIP option, and is actually encouraged to ensure NAFEMS is able to keep the e-Learning course fees as low as possible. Please send an email to the e-Learning coordinator (e-learning @ ) to determine if these surcharges may apply to your specific case. 

Just as with a live face-to-face training course, each registration only covers one person. If you plan to register a large group (5+), please send an email to e-learning @ in advance for group discounts.  

Access to recorded sessions is made available immediately after the live session

For NAFEMS cancellation and transfer policy, click here

For more information, please email e-learning @ .


Event Type: Course
Location: e-Learning Online
Date: October 3, 2017

Not Available to Attend this Time? 

Would you like us to notify you when the next course on Composite FEA is open for enrollment? If so, add yourself to the eLearning Waitlist!

If you are unable to commit to the course until one or two sessions are completed, that is no problem. You can review sessions prior to your joining by streaming on-line. Alternatively, if you need to join late on any course and registration is closed, simply email us.

Course Instructor:
Tony Abbey

Tony Abbey - NAFEMS Tutor

To read Tony Abbey's bio please visit the NAFEMS Tutors page.

Session 1
Tuesday, October 3rd

Session 2
Tuesday, October 10th

Session 3
Tuesday, October 17th

Session 4
Monday, October 30th

Session 5
Tuesday, October 31st

All sessions are recorded and made available to attendees following the end of the live class. It is perfectly acceptable to attend this class using recordings only.

The course is completely code independent, so is applicable to all FEA users.

A full set of PDF notes is available for download. Each session is presented live and is available for review via a streamable recording.

Reading lists, homework submissions, supplementary data are all available for download via the special on-line forum. Interaction via the bulletin board is strongly encouraged to obtain the most from the e-learning class. Typically, the board runs for 4 weeks after the last live class sessions, giving you plenty of time to catch up with homework, review and ask questions.

Note: Homework participation is purely voluntary!

Engineering Board PDH Credits

*It is your individual responsibility to check whether these e-learning courses satisfy the criteria set-out by your state engineering board. NAFEMS does not guarantee that your individual board will accept these courses for PDH credit, but we believe that the courses comply with regulations in most US states (except Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New York, where providors are required to be pre-approved).

If you are unable to commit to the course until one or two sessions are completed, that is no problem. You can review sessions prior to your joining by streaming on-line. 
or  if you need a late join on any course.