Automotive Composites Technology Engineering Academy
I.D. # ACAD08 Duration 5 Days

After more than 40 years of promise, the next decade will see an explosion in the use of composite materials. Aerospace and general aviation have been using the technology for years and automotive and alternative energy markets are now on the cusp of broader implementation. Car manufacturers are already implementing and launching carbon fiber composite development programs and working with both domestic and foreign producers of carbon fibers and composites. With the significant weight savings associated with composites, it is essential for automotive engineers to become knowledgeable about this technology which may revolutionize the way carbon fiber is used in automobiles and ultimately be instrumental in meeting government mandates for fuel economy.

This course will provide an overview of different composite materials in terms of material types such as carbon, glass and natural fibers. The focus, however, will be on carbon fiber processes, typical applications, benefits and shortcomings and limitations. Participants will become familiar with different composites terminology, quality issues, costs and automotive market needs and will gain a holistic understanding of automotive carbon fiber applications.

***Please be advised that you will be required to sign an on-site waiver to cover the final day of demonstrations and hands-on activities which will be held at the Composites Structures Laboratories (CSL) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.***

Learning Objectives

By attending this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of composites technology in automotive weight savings applications
  • Choose composites manufacturing processes that can influence quality
  • Identify engineering modeling methodologies for composite material and structural performance
  • Specify common methods for characterization of anisotropic composite materials
  • Evaluate the latest developments in non-destructive test methods for composite materials and structures
  • Identify and contrast damage and crush characteristics for composites vs. metals
  • Identify assessment approaches to durability in composites
  • Identify recent developments and applications of composites in the automotive industry
  • Summarize the opportunities for weight savings with composites
Who Should Attend

This course is designed for OEM, Tier I and Tier II supplier automotive engineers who are involved in developing weight savings solutions through composite materials innovations and wish to have an awareness of composite material vehicle technology applications. Engineers in manufacturing, design, analysis, advanced engineering, cost reduction, test, and research will benefit from the comprehensive nature of the course.


An engineering degree is highly recommended, but not required. This Academy does not cover many of the basic concepts and assumes that the attendee already understands such concepts (stress, strain, viscosity, heat transfer, materials properties, vibration, impact, etc). Individuals who are transitioning to application of composite materials in light weighting automotive platforms will find this Academy particularly helpful.

Seminar Content

Market and Technology Needs for Composites - Dr. Siavoshani & Dr. Shahwan

  • Diversity of applications of composites-aerospace, wind turbine, pressure vessels, oil and gas offshore, civil infrastructure
  • Market trends and predictions
Composite Materials: Fibers and Polymers - Dr. Siavoshani
  • Polymers: thermoset and thermoplastic
  • Fibers: carbon, glass, Kevlar, Spectra
  • Material forms: continuous fibers, LDF, fabrics, braids, short fiber
  • Fiber orientation and collimation
  • Fiber orientation in molding flow
  • Fiber placement systems
  • Draping conformation
Light Weight Materials Technology Options in the Automotive Industry - Dr. Warren
  • Candidate materials for light-weighting a vehicle
  • Advantages, disadvantages, and major obstacles of each material
  • Past development efforts in the industry
  • Current uses of advanced materials for weight reduction
Carbon Fiber and the Obstacles to Automotive Industry Implementation - Dr. Warren
  • Cost effectiveness of Current Carbon Fiber Components
  • Carbon Fiber Manufacturing
  • Carbon Fiber Cost Drivers
  • Routes to Lower Cost Carbon Fiber
  • Other Obstacles for more Wide Spread use of Carbon Fiber Composites in the Automotive Industry
Introduction to Composites Manufacturing - Dr. Siavoshani
  • Prepreg technology
  • Infusion molding-RTM, VARTM
  • Compression molding
  • Pultrusion
  • Injection molding LFT
Composite Materials Characterization -Dr. Pipes
  • Fiber volume fraction and micro analysis
  • Tensile and compression tests - strength, Young's moduli and Poisson's ratio
  • Shear test methods - shear modulus and strength
  • Flexural strength and stiffness
  • Off-axis tension test - biaxial strength
  • Coefficients of thermal expansion
  • Laminate strength and modulus
  • Open-hole tensile strength
  • Mode I and Mode II fracture toughness
Composite Processing Roadmap - Dr. Loos
  • Introduction to process modeling and simulation of composites
  • Why modeling and what is the simulation framework
  • Characterizing the materials response including the resin
  • Simulating thermal management and infusion
  • Simulating residual stress and deformation
  • Simulation models & case studies
  • Session summary
Non-destructive Inspection and Evaluation of Composite Materials and Structures - Dr. Adams
  • Common composite material damage mechanisms
  • Non-destructive measurements and their sensitivities to common damage mechanisms
  • Material health monitoring and prognostic measurements
  • Nondestructive inspection technologies
  • Case studies of nondestructive inspection methods
  • Interactive real time demonstrations of inspection methods
Durability - Dr. Mallick
  • Fatigue durability
  • Designing against fatigue
  • Crash durability
  • Designing against crash
Joining Technology - Dr. Mallick
  • Mechanical joining for composites - fasteners, design, strength
  • Adhesive joining - adhesives, analysis and design
  • Joining with metals - special considerations

Crush, Damage and Modeling of Structural Energy Absorption - Dr. Shahwan

  • Energy management and the concept of energy absorption/dissipation
  • Major distinctions between energy absorption mechanisms
  • Modes of damage initiation and progression in fiber-reinforced polymeric composites
  • Computational considerations: simulation is not prediction, and correlation is not causation
  • Limitations and ranges of applicability (why current CAE tools have limited predictive power)
  • Phenomenological and physics-based models
  • Discretization, localization, homogenization and representative equivalency
  • Limitations of common averaging and homogenization techniques
  • Material scale, model scale, physical scale and size effects on nominal strength
Challenges, Future Analysis Trends, and Demonstration Cases - Dr. Shahwan
  • The overall analysis challenge is evolutionary, with increasing complexity during integration
  • What are the barriers preventing robust & accurate modeling of advanced materials
  • Verification & validation of new modeling methodologies - benchmarking & standardization
  • Analysis using in-situ properties vs. estimated/presumed averaged (bulk) properties
  • Modeling the manufacturing process, in-service/environmental effects & long-term performance)
  • Damage repairability, repair technologies and the lurking challenges
  • Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) - the emerging need
  • The hierarchical (sequential) analysis ("modeling the input") - an emerging paradigm shift
  • Automotive model for pre-competitive collaboration on advanced high-risk research
  • The Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC) - a quarter century later; USCAR and US-DoE
  • ACC's energy management and modeling projects: portfolio of advancements
  • ACC's demonstration projects spanning more than two decades

Simulations using Commercial Modeling and Analysis Tools -Dr. de Luca

  • Review of simulation technologies for composite design, manufacturing and performance
  • Primary distinctions between software used for: product design/CAD, product performance/CAE, and manufacturing/CAM
  • Main commonalities between CAD, CAE, and CAM and how they are used for today¿s complex composite shapes
  • Input data requirements (physical & computational) for design, manufacturing and performance simulation software
  • Typical results from design, manufacturing and performance simulation software and what they mean
  • How to apply simulation technologies to support product engineering
  • Review of some of the commercially available software and their typical/common uses
  • Introduce the general concept of user-defined modules which are used for highly specialized composites' simulations
  • Overview of what can currently be simulated, what can't be done (yet), and emerging needs/capabilities


The final day of the academy will take place at the Composites Structures Laboratories (CSL), Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where participants will be involved in demonstrations and hands-on activities designed to bring the classroom learning from the beginning of the week to life.

Testing of Composite Materials & Structures - Dr. Waas and CSL Staff

  • Uniaxial tensile test: specimen setup, loading, instrumentation and data collection, measured vs. calculated mechanical properties, local vs. global strains, nonlinear effects, unloading, and data processing
  • Biaxial test: specimen setup and orientation, fixtures and loading ratios, instrumentation, effects of biaxiality, nonlinearities, damage assessment, unloading and data processing
  • Drop tower impact test: setup of impacting mass and specimen fixtures, rate effects and speed limitations, instrumentation, data that can be collected, optical methods to capture response, measuring force level and corresponding deformations (displacements and strains)
Processing and Manufacturing of Composite Structures
  • Interactive demonstration of the Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) process including explanation of the setup, instrumentation, materials, equipment, and the manufactured composite
  • Interactive demonstration of the Autoclave, how is it used and for what type of composites, advantages and disadvantages, and the final manufactured composite
Demonstration of various samples of: fibers, matrices, composites materials, composites structures and geometric configurations
  • Interactive (hands-on) discussion and demonstration of actual samples from recent projects on various types of structural composites from automotive to aerospace applications including textiles (braided, woven, stitched, prepreg. random chopped, and many more
Lecture: topics on designing composites by optimizing layups, fiber volume fraction, fiber direction, and linear stiffness attributes
  • Effects of fiber and matrix stiffness, and volume fraction on the properties of a lamina
  • Properties in oriented vs. principal directions of a lamina and a laminate
  • Symmetry and antisymmetric, transverse isotropy, orthotropy and special orthotropy, and anisotropy and typical reasons to design for each
  • Lamination to maximize axial, compression and bending stiffness
  • Lamination to maximize/minimize coupling between inplane and bending properties
  • Lamination to maximize torsional stiffness and minimize warpage
Open Discussion and Feedback - Dr. Shahwan & Dr. Siavoshani
Instructor(s): Saeed Siavoshani, Khaled Shahwan, Doug Adams, Patrick de Luca, Al Loos, Pankaj K. Mallick, Anthony Waas, Dave Warren

Saeed Siavoshani - Co-Lead InstructorSaeed Siavoshani
Dr. Saeed J. Siavoshani is currently a Technical Program Manager for LMS, A Siemens Company and an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy where he teaches a comprehensive electric vehicle course. In addition Dr. Siavoshani serves as the Chief Industry Advisor for SAE Professional Development Seminars and Academies. Over the past two decades, he has worked for the Dow Chemical company, General Motors Corporation and Ford Motor Company as an NVH technical specialist. During his career, Dr. Siavoshani has also worked on composite projects related to offshore oil and gas, infrastructures, and pressure vessels and automotive systems including powertrain, body structure, exhaust/induction systems as well as the interior and exterior of the vehicle. He has also been instrumental in the development of new technology, notably the integrated Front of Dashboard concept and Acoustomize, a unique method of analyzing and offering solutions to automotive noise problems. He has also worked in the area of thermoforming utilizing electro-magnetic field technology. Dr. Siavoshani has helped to build the infrastructure for the electric vehicle battery pack including thermal management as well as reducing the weight of the overall battery. He has been granted several patents and was presented the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award in 2012 for distinction in professional development and education. Dr. Siavoshani has a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Wayne State University and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Oakland University.

Khaled Shahwan - Co-Lead InstructorKhaled Shahwan
Dr. Shahwan is a world-recognized expert and an industry leader in state-of-the-art virtual methodologies and engineering for advanced lightweight composites and automotive safety technologies. He is the 2014 Industry Chairman of the Materials Tech Team of USDRIVE (co-chaired with the US DoE EERE/VTO). Dr. Shahwan is a member of the Board of Directors of the Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC)¿a division of the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) serving as its Chairman of the Board in 2011. He has held several expanding roles within the ACC leadership including the Chairman of the Predictive Technology Development and Composites Crash Energy Management Group. Dr. Shahwan is a leading member of several industry-government collaborative programs (USAMP, CSWG, USDRIVE), and has initiated and managed several long-term collaborative R&D and innovation projects between the OEMs, suppliers, leading academic institutions and U.S. Dept. of Energy. At the Chrysler Technology Center Dr. Shahwan is a leading specialist in light-weighting and advanced computational materials methodologies as well as computational passive and active safety technologies. Prior to joining Chrysler, Dr. Shahwan worked for several years at Ford Research Labs and Ford¿s Advanced Engineering. Earlier in his career he held senior consulting and research positions in industry and at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Dr. Shahwan is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Engineering Mechanics (¿04-¿14), Int. J. of Vehicle Safety, Int. J. of Vehicle Design, and Int. J. of Automotive Composites. He is an elected Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a member of ASC, ASME, SAMPE, and has over 40 peer-reviewed journal publications, conference presentations, and over 45 corporate and industry-government collaboration reports. Dr. Shahwan received several recognitions including the 2013 Rising Engineering Star by Design News, USCAR¿s Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Contributions, as well as the Executive & Team Leadership (Technology Innovation) Award by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). Dr. Shahwan serves on the Advisory Board of SFSU¿s School of Engineering. Dr. Shahwan holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, and an M.S. in Civil/Structural Engineering from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from SFSU.

Doug Adams Doug Adams
Dr. Adams is Distinguished Professor and Chair of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University where he directs the Vanderbilt Laboratory for Systems Integrity & Reliability which houses advanced instrumentation including three-dimensional laser vibrometer and Digital Image Correlation systems for characterizing composite material behavior. He and his students use nonlinear structural dynamic model identification techniques and multi-physics measurements to illuminate the complex ways in which materials and machines degrade in order to prevent failure. He has published 72 archival journal papers, 154 conference papers, several book chapters, and a textbook on structural health monitoring, and he has graduated 43 MS and PhD students. His work has generated 13 patents including several technologies in the area of composite material inspection and integrated health monitoring, and he is actively implementing this technology with industry to more effectively manage the reliability of aircraft, ground vehicles, and power systems and reduce operation & maintenance costs. Dr. Adams has secured 93 federal and industrial contracts/grants and has received a number of awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the DiMichele Award from the Society of Experimental Mechanics. He has delivered over 200 talks worldwide including keynote addresses in the United States and Europe. He is a winner of numerous teaching awards and his name is recorded in the Book of Great Teachers at his former institution, Purdue University. He was named a Fellow of ASME in 2011 and is Managing Editor of the International Journal of Structural Health Monitoring.

Patrick de Luca
Patrick de Luca Dr. de Luca is currently Manager of the ESI Group's Composites Center of Excellence (CoE), whose mission is to set-up, promote and support innovative projects and co-create partnerships for the delivery and deployment of ESI's solution for the virtual prototyping of composites parts, coupling overall performance and manufacturing. Prior to his current position, Patrick held other positions within ESI where he developed PAM-FORM for a European project. Dr. de Luca has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and completed a post-doc at Stanford University.

Alfred Loos
Alfred Loos Dr. Loos is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University where he currently teaching courses in mechanics of materials, mechanics of composite materials, and composites manufacturing. His current research interests are in the areas of heat transfer and flow phenomena in materials processing, mathematical modeling of manufacturing processes, mechanics of materials, finite element analysis, and materials characterization and testing. A research focus has been the processing science of polymeric-based composites. Professor Loos joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 2004 after spending twenty-two years on the faculty at Virginia Tech. Dr. Loos earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is a Fellow and Past President of the American Society for Composites and a member of ASME, SAMPE, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi. Professor Loos is currently an Associate Editor for Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, and is serving on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites and Composites Science and Technology.

Pankaj K. MallickP.K. Mallick
P. K. Mallick is the William E. Stirton Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Engineering Programs at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He is also the director of the Center for Lightweighting Automotive Materials and Processing at the university. Dr. Mallick worked in industry for several years before joining the university where his principal research areas are mechanical properties, design characteristics, joining and processing of polymers, fiber reinforced composites and lightweight automotive materials. He has authored or co-authored three books on fiber reinforced composites, including Fiber Reinforced Composites: Materials, Manufacturing and Design and Materials, Manufacturing and Design for Lightweight Vehicles. Dr. Mallick is the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Research Award from the university and the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Michigan Association of Governing Board of State Universities and is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He received his Ph.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Dr. R. Byron PipesByron Pipes
Dr. Pipes is the John L. Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Purdue University and has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1987. His prestigious academic career includes service as President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Director of the Center for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware. In his early career, he worked in composites development for General Dynamics Fort Worth (now Lockheed.) Dr. Pipes is an international expert recognized for his outstanding scholarship in the field of polymer composite materials in the areas of advanced manufacturing science, durability, design and characterization and for his leadership in creating partnerships for university research with the private sector, government and academia. He is the author of over one-hundred archival publications including four books and has served on the editorial boards of four journals in his field. He holds Fellow rank in ASC, ASME and SAMPE and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Delaware. Dr. Pipes received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and a M.S.E. from Princeton University.

Anthony M WaasTony Waas
Anthony M. Waas is the Felix Pawlowski Collegiate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director, Composite Structures Laboratory at the University of Michigan. His current research interests are related to lightweight aerostructures, with a focus on automated manufacturability, structural integrity and damage tolerance. Dr. Waas is also researching ceramic matrix "hot" structures, nano-composites, and multi-material structures. Several of his projects have been funded by numerous U.S. government agencies and industry. In addition, he has been a consultant to several industries in various capacities, most recently with the Boeing Company in connection with the 787 Dreamliner airplane. He is a recipient of several best paper awards, the American Academy of Mechanics Junior Research Award, The UM College of Engineering David Liddle Award for Research Excellence, an AIAA Sustained Service Award, the American Society of Composites Outstanding Researcher Award and most recently the Stephen S. Atwood Award, the highest distinction for a CoE faculty member at Michigan. Dr. Waas is author or co-author of more than 200 refereed journal papers, and numerous conference papers and presentations. He received his B.Sc. (first class honors) from Imperial College, Univ. of London, U.K., the M.S. and Ph.D with a minor in Applied Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology, all in Aeronautics.

Dave WarrenDave Warren
Dr. Warren is currently the Program Manager for the Transportation Materials Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Field Technical Manager for Materials in the Lightweighting Materials sub-program of DOE Vehicle Technologies where his focus is on materials science technologies related to carbon fiber, carbon fiber composites, glass fiber composites, magnesium, aluminum, titanium, and high strength steels. Prior to joining ORNL, he served as Program Manager for Peacekeeper ICBM propulsion, Small ICBM basing and Rail Garrison support as a Captain in the United States Air Force. He has numerous technical publications focused mainly on composite materials development and application and has chaired international conferences and sessions and given plenary or keynote addresses. His membership on boards and steering committees includes: USDRIVE Materials Tech Team; U.S. Automotive Materials Partnership; Georgia Technological University - Materials Science Department Review Board; University of Alabama - Birmingham - GATE Materials Science Advisory Board. Dave completed undergraduate and graduate work in materials science and engineering at Vanderbilt University.

Fees: $3345 SAE Members*: $2676 - $3011
* The appropriate SAE Member discount will be applied through the Registration process.  Discounts vary according to level of membership: Elite Member 20%; Premium Member 15%; Classic Member 10%
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