The course takes participants through the suite of mechanical properties required for design of aircraft using carbon fibre laminates.

In the first half of the course comparisons with metallic material properties are drawn illustrating the areas of superiority and the deficits associated with carbon fibre laminates. Properties considered include static strength and stiffness in tension and compression, response to stress concentrations, property degradation due to elevated temperature and humidity, in-plane fatigue, impact damage and delamination growth under fatigue. Properties are considered in terms of coupon properties together with the behaviour of structural elements. Techniques for stress and strength calculation in laminates complete the treatment of composite material performance and design.

The later part of the course emphasises application issues with lectures from aircraft designers about current developments in composite civil and military aircraft.  Aircraft regulatory input concludes the course. The special issues relevant to approval of composite aircraft structure as damage tolerant, together with inspection and maintenance issues are covered in detail.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • 10 - 14 Jul 2023
  • Duration5 days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£1400 - Standard.  Concessions available

Course structure

The course content will be delivered via a mixture of lectures and tutorials with discussion sessions, problem solving and calculations. There will be a session in the mechanical test laboratory to view selected mechanical tests including impact and compression after impact testing. There will be a course dinner giving delegates an opportunity to socialise with lecturers and further discuss composites in aircraft. This will include a light hearted quiz on the course content with prizes for the winners.

What you will learn

On completion of the course delegates should:

  • Appreciate good design practice in composite structures
  • Understand  manufacturing process - material structural performance  relationships
  • Understand principles and techniques of composite stress analysis, strength and service durability and damage tolerance predictions in composite aircraft structures.
  • Have knowledge of the various damage threats to composite aircraft airworthiness, including
  • Impacts, impact damage and delamination
  • Temperature and humidity
  • Compression strength and compression fatigue
  • Damage tolerance in composite aircraft structures
  • Regulatory requirements for interpretation of damage tolerance requirements in polymer composite aircraft structures

Core content

  • Polymer composite materials- basic description  of structure and characteristics; comparison with traditional metals
  • Coupon test techniques for basic property measurement
  • Mechanics of fibre reinforced laminates- stress analysis; prediction of stiffness and strength- calculation techniques
  • Impact damage on polymer composites
  • Compression after impact strength
  • In plane fatigue strength
  • Delamination crack growth in fatigue
  • Damage tolerance of composite aircraft structures
  • Design issues in composite aircraft structures- Examples from recent large civil and military aircraft
  • Composite aircraft structure inspection and repair
  • Certification approaches and continued airworthiness in composite aircraft

Who should attend

The course has been developed to meet the needs of aircraft design, regulatory and maintenance engineers who have to meet the challenge of working with new generations of composite aircraft structures. The course is multi disciplinary, bringing together a unique selection of composite technologies relevant to aircraft structure design and service performance prediction. These include composite design and manufacture, service performance, damage tolerance and structural integrity. 


The DDICAS course is an examinable module on both civil and military taught masters courses. 



Emeritus Professor Phil Irving - Formerly Head of Damage Tolerance Group at Cranfield, Phil has been teaching, researching and publishing in the field of fatigue, structural integrity and damage tolerance in aircraft structures, both in industry and academia for the past 30 years. His research and teaching work has been with both metallic and polymer composite aircraft, and has investigated damage tolerance capability in both materials. 

Professor John Bristow - Visiting Professor of Structural Integrity to Cranfield University; Co-founder of Airworthiness MSc programme.  Formerly Head of the Structures and Materials Department of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).  John has over 40 years of experience in the aircraft industry, in structural design and regulations, the De Havilland Division of H.S.A, and subsequently worked as a structural design surveyor covering both structural design and continued airworthiness aspects of all types of aircraft, metallic and composite, for the CAA.

Professor S Guo

Dr Y Xu

Dr M Yassaee


Dr S Emmerling - Airbus Helicopters

Professor Ian Lane - Airbus

Dr B Gordon

Simon Waite - EASA


20% discount for Cranfield Alumni. 
10% discount when registering 3 or more delegates, from the same organisation at the same time.  

Accommodation fees are not included in the discount scheme. Please ask about our discount scheme at time of booking.

Accommodation options and prices

We are pleased to offer an exclusive accommodation package at our Mitchell Hall hotel. Located on campus, all rooms are en-suite and available on a half-board basis from Sunday to Friday. The cost of this package is £530.

If you would like to book our accommodation package for this short course*, please indicate this on your registration form.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

*Subject to availability.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.