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Composite Materials Instruction At The United States Naval Academy

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Diversity in Materials

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.310.1 - 8.310.8



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Paper Authors

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Paul Miller

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Oscar Barton

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

Session 3464

Composite Materials Instruction at the United States Naval Academy

Oscar Barton, Jr., Paul H. Miller United States Naval Academy Annapolis MD 21402


Composite materials are widely becoming the material of choice for many structural and nonstructural applications. The aircraft industry for example, has used composites for wing skins and other control surfaces that provide savings in fuel consumption and weight. The marine industry incorporates thick single skin and sandwich composites for hulls, decks, risers and other primary structure, and the automotive industry uses composites to fabricate body panels, springs and drive shafts. The civil engineering community uses glass and carbon reinforced plastics in the repair of aging bridges, piers, columns and other structures vital to the nation's infrastructure and economy.

Exposure to the mechanics of composite materials and structures is usually reserved for the graduate student. However, many undergraduate institutions find the need to provide their students with experience with these advanced materials and have crafted courses to do so. This describes the motivation at the United States Naval Academy (USNA). For the same reasons as other industries, the U. S. Navy is incorporating more composite material systems into its ships, aircraft and land vehicles.

The paper describes a dual effort to expose midshipmen to composite materials and structures. Theory of composite materials is presented in a senior-elective course in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Here the midshipmen, using computational tools such as IDEAS, are taught the mechanics of composite materials including classical lamination theory(CLT). An elective course in the Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department focuses on experimentation and fabrication. This senior-level course combines both theory and practice in the selection and planning of methods, materials, and equipment to fabricate, upgrade, and repair marine structures (ships and offshore structures) made of composites and traditional materials.


The U. S. Navy is increasing its use of advanced composite materials to satisfy many program design requirements. Defining the Navy of 2020 and beyond requires the development of new classes of fighting vehicles which are more lethal, less expensive and yet do not sacrifice innocent lives or property. One example is the rapidly reconfigurable, survivable surface ship. This vehicle is envisioned to incorporate robotic and intelligent machines, a distributed power

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Miller, P., & Barton, O. (2003, June), Composite Materials Instruction At The United States Naval Academy Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12472

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