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
    • 08 - 12 Jul 2024
  • 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 course dinner giving delegates an opportunity to socialise with lecturers and further discuss composites in aircraft.  

What you will learn

On completion of the course delegates should:

  • Appreciate good design practice in composite structures.
  • 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. 


Dr Yigeng Xu - is a Reader in Structural Integrity and Course Director of Advanced Lightweight and Composite Structures MSc at Cranfield University. He received his PhD degree from the University of Southampton. Yigeng has over 30 years of teaching and research experience with particular interest on durability and damage tolerance analysis of metallic and composite airframe structures. He has carried out a number of research projects funded by national (Innovate UK, ATI, EPSRC), Europe (EC FP7, Horizon Europe) and industries (Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace, MBDA). He was a Fatigue and Damage Tolerance Design Engineer at Airbus and developed an in-house structural integrity method (SIM1014) on the calculation of critical crack length and crack propagation. He is the Fellow of Higher Education Academy, Chartered Engineer and Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College.

Professor Phil Irving - is the Emeritus Professor and formerly Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sponsored Chair in Damage Tolerance and Professor of Structural Integrity at Cranfield University. 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 50 years. His research and teaching work has been with both metallic and polymer composite aircraft and has investigated damage tolerance capability in both materials.

Dr Simon Waite - is the Senior Expert in Materials at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). He started his career in aviation with British Aerospace as a Missile System Engineer. In 1989, he joined the British Airways as an aircraft technical services engineer and was mainly involved in the aging aircraft programme for the Boeing 747. He is also a member of the Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair Committee (CACRC). In 1995, he joined the UK Civil Aviation Authority as an aircraft design surveyor and was responsible for the aircraft design certification/ validation, modifications, continued airworthiness, design, production and material producer organisation approvals. In 2005, he joined EASA as the Structures Expert and is a member of the Composite Materials Handbook – 17 (CMH-17) and co-chair of the Fatigue and Damage Tolerance and Certification working groups. He holds a PhD from the UK City University and specialised in the use of embedded optical fibres for damage detection in composite materials during his PhD. He held a PPL (22 years, including Multi and AMC), Skydiving A Licence, and was a hang-glider pilot.

Dr Hessam Ghasemnejad - is a Reader in Aerospace Structures at Cranfield University. He was awarded a PhD on effect of delamination failure on crashworthiness of laminated composite structures from Kingston University London in 2009. Prior to joining Cranfield in 2016 he was the Senior Lecturer in Composite Materials in the School of Aerospace and Aircraft Engineering at Kingston University (2010 – 2015). He also acts as Member of Engineering Council (Chartered Engineer), IMechE Academic Review Panel, Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA), the EPSRC Peer Review College, Editorial Board of Journals and Scientific Committees of International Conferences. He has secured research grants from Innovate UK, Horizon Europe, MoD, major aerospace companies and SME partners with a research focus on impact and crash analysis of advanced composite structures.

Dr Iman Dayyani - is the Senior Lecturer in Composite Metamaterials and Morphing Structures at Cranfield University. He has extensive expertise in the development of novel structural characteristics for multidisciplinary problems in aerospace engineering such as lightweight structures with extreme anisotropic behaviour. This includes a broad range of work on Morphing Skins and Adaptive Structures capable of large-scale geometry changes. He uses a variety of analytical, numerical, and experimental techniques to develop problems from low fidelity analysis in concept level to high-fidelity investigation in modelling validation. Iman has published many high impact factor journal papers and carried out research projects funded by Innovate UK, ATI, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Horizon Europe.

Dr Xiaodong Xu - is the Senior Lecturer in Lightweight Materials and Structures. His research interests lie in notched failure, strength scaling, sustainable composites, Machine Learning and Automated Manufacturing of Advanced Composites. Before joining Cranfield University, Dr Xiaodong Xu was a Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Structures at the University of West of England (UWE Bristol) since 2021, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Bristol Composites Institute and a Visiting Fellow of the University of Tokyo. Before 2021, he was a Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol where he was also awarded my PhD in Aerospace Engineering in 2015.

Dr Andrea Cini - obtained the MSc in Aeronautical Engineering, with specialisation in Aircraft Structure, from the University of Pisa, Italy, and a PhD degree in Fatigue and Damage Tolerance from Cranfield University, UK. Andrea developed his career as technical manager of research teams in both academia and industry and he currently works as the ASD Lab Manager and the Lecturer in Aerostructures at Universidad Carlos III Madrid in Spain. His research focuses on innovative aircraft structural configurations, minimum weight optimisation, aircraft conceptual design tools, “Non-black metal” composite design, composite post-buckling behaviour and damage evolution prediction in composite and metallic materials.

Mr Matthew Collins - has been involved in most of the Airbus aircraft developments on the wing over the last 25 years. As Head of Airframe Authority for Wing, Matthew is responsible for ensuring the delegation of technical authority within Airbus wing organisation, the wing means of compliance and final signature on the wing certification documentation. He is the Stress Component Technical Authority Senior Expert for Wing and UK Proximity Manager for ESCA.

Mr Stefan Emmerling - is the Senior Expert in Overall Dynamic System Analysis at Airbus. Starting in the Helicopter Division of Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm (MBB), now the German part of the French-German Airbus Helicopters division, he has almost 30 years of experience in the field of structural analysis including the functions of a certification verification engineer and management positions. His main areas of work include fiber composite materials and their structural analysis (helicopters, satellites, railway and wind energy applications), fatigue and damage tolerance analysis and certification of metallic and composite structures, regulations and processes related to certification, and performing activities as accident investigator for flight incidents and accidents.

Dr Barbara Gordon - is the Senior Research Investigator at the Department of Aeronautics of Imperial College, London. Prior to this, Barbara worked for BAe Systems for 37years, principally as a composite specialist within the structures discipline. This has involved work across the whole product lifecycle from research and product development, through detail design, qualification and certification, manufacturing and in-service support on products such as Eurofighter Typhoon and F35 Lightning II.

Professor Ian Lane - is the Composite Structures Expert at Vertical Aerospace and formerly Senior Expert in composite analysis at Airbus. Ian has extensive experience in fixed and rotary wing aircraft composite structural analysis in research, concept, design, certification, manufacture and in-service repair. He is the Visiting Professor of Aerospace Engineering to Bristol University and has been focusing on aerospace research and technology development, interfacing with academic institutions and Airworthiness Authorities.

Professor John Bristow - is the Visiting Professor of Structural Integrity to Cranfield University and Co-founder of the Airworthiness MSc programme. He was the 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.


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 £560.

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.