Asee peer logo

Composite Column Design/Test Lab

Download Paper |


2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Hands-on Materials Science and Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.317.1 - 13.317.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Craig Johnson Central Washington University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Craig Johnson is a Professor and Coordinator of the Mech. Eng. Tech. Program (ABET) in the Ind. & Eng. Tech. Dept. at Central Wash. Univ. ( He is also Coordinator and FEF Key Professor of the Industrial Technology Cast Metals Program. He has a P.E. in Metallurgical Engineering, but also has a B.S. in Phys. Sci. and previously taught high school. His BSME is from U WY, an MSMSE from UCLA, & a Ph.D. in Eng. Sci. from WSU. Dr. J. is a past ASEE Materials Division Chair. He specializes in test design, interface characterization/joining. & process optimization (forming & casting). CWU, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7584 509-963-1118

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Composite Column Design/Test Lab


Effective engineered composite design activities require predictive and quantitative methodology. This research incorporates engineering design, using smart spreadsheets, into a laboratory activity focusing on columns made of composite materials.

In a previous work1, a laboratory activity was developed supporting composite design of polymer matrix composite beams. The present work applies a similar approach expanded to ceramic composites in the form of columns.

In the lab, students simulate composite columns and use a smart spreadsheet to help optimize their design for engineering performance, including ‘specific’ properties. Parameters are discussed and evaluated before the column is made. The composite is then fabricated. Finally, the composite is tested and the experimental data (‘critical load’ for columns) is compared to predictions.


The National Educator’s Workshop requires certain information be provided in the manuscript. This information includes ‘Key Words’, ‘Target Grade Level(s)’, ‘Prerequisite Knowledge’, ‘Objectives’, and ‘Equipment and Supplies Needed’ are shown below. A traditional ‘Introduction’ appears subsequently.

Key Words: Composites, Column Design, Spreadsheet Optimization

Target Grade Level(s): This activity is oriented to Grades 13-16 (undergraduate college).

Mode of Presentation (lab, demo, in-class activity, etc.): This activity includes in-class, demo and lab aspects.

Prerequisite Knowledge: Students should be able to 1. use spreadsheets, 2. have basic knowledge of both structures (beam bending and columns) composites and composites structures, and 3. have the logic and math skills necessary to plan and quantify the composite design and optimization process.


• Students should be able to design an appropriate composite column structure, model the composite structure, optimize the composite structure design, and subsequently predict its performance.

Johnson, C. (2008, June), Composite Column Design/Test Lab Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3506

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2008 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015