About this online course


Economics and Ecologics go hand in hand for aircraft. So how do we get structures light and keep safety, durability, maintainability and other aspects up to par? You need knowledge about design, base materials and manufacturing to get successful. The interaction between these three, for composites called the trinity, is crucial. What is the influence of weave styles on the feasible shapes you can produce with a press process? Which decisions do I have to make, before I can specify what is repairable by the customer and what needs to be repaired by the OEM? Why is there an absolute size effect for holes in plates?

The course not only supports the understanding why structures are as they are, but also enlightens you in decisions you have to make to get to these lightweight structures. This course uses videos created with Video scribe software, so it has more impact on the viewer than traditional filmed material. Next to these videos, written course material is available, where we selected material from CRC which is free for many students. Finally we tried to minimize the amount of mathematical expressions in this course, as those are often preventing people from the real understanding of the problem.

For anyone who is involved in the design process of lightweight structures. You will understand why structures are as they are. You can point out areas of attention, as you will have obtained a gut feeling for design of (composite) lightweight structures.

After succeeding this course you should be able to explain parameters and their relationships, which play a role in the development of lightweight structures and parts.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • judge a structural design on conditions required to call a design a lightweight design.
  • identify carbon glass aramid and dyneema fibres
  • identify metals from composites on micro and macro scale.
  • relate lightweight materials to typical strong and weak points in their performance.
  • give examples of fibre morphologies
  • argue the correlation between fibre content, orientation control, fibre length, manufacturing process and application.
  • recall & argue unwanted stress distributions in composite materials


Course Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction into lightweight structures. From function to the trinity of lightweight design. Design strategies to get to a lightweight design.

Week 2: Composites and metals, what you need to know, and what the differences are.

Week 3: Manufacturing, the impact of it on your design.

Week 4: How does failure occur, how do we test this and what about the design allowables resulting from these tests.

Week 5: The basics of micro-mechanics of composites.

Week 6: The basics of macro-mechanics of composites, with the ABD matrix and the effects of free edges.

Week 7: Design of composite structures, rules of thumb, with open and filled holes. Repair of composite structures.

Assignment(s) and Assessment

Written exam via online proctoring.

Literature & Study Materials

  • P.K. Mallick "Fiber-Reinforced Composites: Materials, Manufacturing and Design" is needed (online provided by TU Delft Library).

Further reading (recommended):

  • I.M. Daniel "Engineering Mechanics of Composite Materials" or the ASM handbook Volume 21 "Composites".



If you successfully complete your online course you will be awarded with a TU Delft certificate.

This certificate will state that you were registered as a non-degree-seeking student at TU Delft and successfully completed the course.

If you decide that you would like to apply to the full Master's program in Aerospace Engineering, you will need to go through the admission process as a regular MSc student. If you are admitted, you can then request an exemption for this course that you completed as a non-degree-seeking student. The Board of Examiners will evaluate your request and will decide whether or not you are exempted.


General admission to this course

Required prior knowledge

  • A relevant BEng or BSc degree in a subject closely related to the content of the course or specialized program in question, such as aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering or (applied) physics.
  • If you do not meet these requirements because you do not have a relevant Bachelor's degree but you have a Bachelor's degree from a reputable institution and you think you have sufficient knowledge and experience to complete the course, you are welcome to apply, stating your motivation and reasons for admission. The faculty of aerospace engineering will decide whether you will be admitted based on the information you have provided. Appeal against this decision is not possible.

Expected prior knowledge
Basic knowledge is expected in the fields of materials, processes and mechanics. You do need fundamental understanding of these topics, but you don't need to have this readily available from the top of your head.

Expected Level of English
English is the language of instruction for this online course. If your working language is not English or you have not participated in an educational program in English in the past, please ensure that your level of proficiency is sufficient to follow the course. TU Delft recommends an English level equivalent to one of the following certificates (given as an indication only; the actual certificates are not required for the admission process):

  • TOEFL score 90+ (this is an internet-based test)
  • IELTS (academic version) overall Band score of at least 6.5
  • University of Cambridge: "Certificate of Proficiency in English" or "Certificate in Advanced English"

Admission process

In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • a CV which describes your educational and professional background
  • a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)
  • a copy of relevant transcripts and diplomas


If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email.

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