Fabrication of Composites

Natural/Bio-fiber composites (Bio-Composites) are emerging as a viable alternative to glass and carbon fiber reinforced composites. The combination of natural, bio-fibers like Hemp, Flax, Jute, Henequen and Sisal with polymer matrices from both non-renewable and renewable resources produce composite materials that are competitive with synthetic assemblies.

This course will focus on the integration of the composites industry with the construction industry and contemporary architectural practice, pursuing advancement of knowledge, research and capabilities within the discipline. Through collaboration with material scientists, engineers, and fabricators in the composites industry, students will create prototypes and design proposals to generate new information and compile existing information in the field to produce a multi-disciplinary design research document in this field of study.

Offered as an open enrollment lecture/workshop, the course will explore the critical inter-relationships of geometry creation, fiber placement, resin flow, tool development and fabrication methods. Material research and evaluation coupled with a strong material focus on sustainable high-performance composite materials and assembly methods will be explored, demonstrated and integrated into student work.

Beginning with introductory fiber placement, resin infusion, and tooling fabrication exercises, building towards applied methods of complex composite part formation through resin infusion, technologies are introduced through a combination of cumulative weekly lectures, labs, case studies and hands-on workshops both at the GSD Fabrication Lab as well as at the IYRS Composites Technology campus facility in Bristol, Rhode Island. Field trips to regional material scientists and composite engineers coupled with fabrication workshops provide a real-world immersion into the implementation of composite design, engineering and fabrication in practice. Working in groups, student assignments will include digital and physical prototypes that contribute to the creation of a comprehensive research document and design/implementation proposal. Direct access to an extended network of facilities will broaden the student’s fabrication capabilities resulting in a deeper awareness and ability in this evolving industry.