Hands-on experience fabricating objects such as air foils out of products like carbon fiber, fiberglass, and Kevlar bonded with epoxy resin matrix, is provided in the Composites Laboratory as part of the coursework for engineering majors.
In addition to its role in coursework in aerospace, civil, and mechanical engineering, the Composites Laboratory is used by student competition teams, such as SAE Aero, ERFSEDS, EcoCAR, SAE Formula Hybrid, and AIAA Design-Build-Fly, and faculty-student research collaborative projects such as ARAPAIMA. The lab is available for student use as part of their coursework, for senior design and capstone projects, and for individual research projects.
The Composites Laboratory also is the home to graduate student and faculty research projects. Some current research being performed in the lab includes:
- Guided lamb waves in composite materials and their application to structural health monitoring for the detection and localization of cracks, flaws, or delamination
- Stitched composite materials (PRSEUS) for structural compression
- The use of carbon nanotubes to improve composite matrix strength and prevent delamination, and
- Glass fiber composite wing control surfaces. These are used as part of the research on morphing wings for unmanned aerial vehicles; the use of smart actuators bonded to the composite panels might obsolete the need for mechanical control systems
- Vacuum bagging system
- Hot wire cutter