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Course year 2
Teaching units Unit Design of Racing Car Composite Structures
Related or Additional Studies (lesson)
  • TAF: Supplementary compulsory subjects SSD: ING-IND/14 CFU: 6
Teachers: Chiara PERNECHELE, Alessandro PIRONDI
Exam type written
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language inglese
Contents download pdf download


Alessandro PIRONDI


At the end of the course the students know:
- the common matrixes and reinforcements with a specific focus on automotive application;
- how to test composites for design purpose, incl. processing effects;
- fundamental theoretical and numerical tools for structural design with composites.

Admission requirements



Course contents

The “Lightweight materials and Composites” course is aimed at describing fundamental mechanical behavior and design rules for fibre-reinforced polymers (FRPs) used in load-bearing elements, including the effect of constituents and processing technology.
Frontal teaching activities will be backed by numerous lab activities designed to help students understand the most common processing techniques and to familiarize with the main tests used to characterize the material for design application.
- Applications of composites in the automotive field: fibre and matrix materials, processing technologies and physical/mechanical properties;
lab on thermal and mechanical properties (DSC and DMA. Evaluation of Tg, optimization of cure cycle, effect of temperature and creep phenomena);
lab on microstructure (determination of volume fractions for fibers, resin, and pores in FRPs);
lab on technology..
- Design and Analysis of FRP lightweight structures:
bulk composite laminates micromechanics, classical lamination theory, failure criteria, impact strength;
sandwich panels design rules;
bonded joints design rules;
lab on mechanical properties (tensile test, flexural test, effect of fiber orientation and volume fraction, effect of stacking sequence in laminates);
lab on numerical/FEM modelling of stresses in FRP components
- Educational visits and seminars by companies representatives.

Teaching methods

The course includes: (i) lectures from academic providing principles and methods of broad applicability (ii) lectures from industry expert introducing technical rules and practical approaches in the form of case studies; (iii) experimental labs to understand the main tests currently used for the design with composites; (iv) computer labs to learn and apply computational tools used in design development; According to the authorization of the Director of the Department, in case of the impossibility of prof. A. Pirondi to be in the classroom for health reasons and after notifying the students, his lesson will be held online in a synchronous or asynchronous way.

Assessment methods

The examination comprises a written part, with open questions and/or exercises on the topics of the course; max score is 30/30. An oral presentation and discussion of assignments given by the teachers during the course and developed in small groups (max 4 people) will give up to further 3 points. The assignments to be developed and presented are mandatory. The tech report for the oral examination includes: report in Word, PowerPoint presentation (maximum duration 25 min) and any kind of material developed (simulation files, specimens, …). The score of the oral examination is the same for all group participants. Cum Laude score can be attributed only with the unanimous opinion of the examination board.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding: Through lectures, seminars, educational visits and experimental labs, the student will learn the design of structural elements of fiber-reinforced composites applied to the automotive field.

Applying knowledge and understanding: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to apply his/her knowledge to the selection of constituent phases (matrix and fiber), processing technology and to apply the basic rules and tools to design composite material structures

Making judgments: Through written reports and open presentation of the lab activities, the student will be able to understand, discuss collectively and critically, as well as to expose, the results obtained.

Communication skills: Written reports improve the ability of presenting experimental data and general understanding in an effective and concise way; group presentations allow to express the acquired concepts with an appropriate language and to hold a discussion about the course topics.

Learning skills: the activities described so far, allow the students to acquire the methodological tools that are necessary to continue their educational career and to become familiar with the ever-continuing update on scientific achievements that is required in cutting-edge technological fields.


P.K. Mallick, Fiber-Reinforced Composites: materials, manufacturing and design – 3° Ed., CRC Press, 2008