Students begin with an introduction to composites uses and applications. The goal is to establish an understanding of two major areas of composites applications – advanced composites and general composites. Students develop proficiency in the safe handling of composites materials, gain experience with a range of composites molding processes – Open Molding, Vacuum Bagging, Vacuum Infusion Processing, Resin Transfer Molding, Filament Winding, and Advanced Composites Prepreg Processing, and establish a context for manufacturing composites products – custom molded, low volume products and higher volume production molding.
Composites Manufacturing Methods
Students will develop proficiency in the broad scope of composites production processing methods. We equip our students with a detailed understanding of safety practices, provide an introduction to plural component application equipment and develop state-of-the-art skills in spray equipment set-up, and develop skill in the application of in-mold coating (gel coat). We also help our students develop the practical skills and technical knowledge of a range of composites molding methods including open molding, vacuum bagging techniques, vacuum infusion processing, prepreg processing, and advanced prepreg applications in complex structures. All students will graduate demonstrating proficiency in the execution of each of prescribed molding processes.
Composites Tooling (CAD/CAM, CNC Machine)
Throughout the program, all students become proficient in utilizing Computer Aided Design (CAD) drawing software to create complex designs, as well as operation of computer numerical controlled (CNC) machining equipment for development of patterns. Students learn skills for CNC pattern fabrication, uploading tool path files, and the operation of CNC equipment including exercises in the machining of pattern stock into a plugs used to build FRP molds. Finally, we help develop proficiency in finishing machined patterns, as well as in the fabrication of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) and advanced composites tooling, including tooling surface development, tooling laminate application and development of mold support structures.
Composites Repair and Refinishing
This cornerstone of the program focuses on developing the knowledge and skill to identify specific types of cosmetic defects and structural damage, as well as the delineation between minor and major structural damage. Students gain practical skills in using cosmetic repair techniques for gel coat and paint finishes and develop proficiency in damage assessment and executing structural repairs of general composites and advanced composites, as well as the ability to complete advanced composites repairs.