Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Joseph Mello


The manufacture, laminate design, and modeling of a part with complex geometry are explored. The ultimate goal of the research is to produce a model that accurately predicts part stiffness. This is validated with experimental results of composite parts, which refine material properties for use in a final prototype part model. The secondary goal of this project is to explore manufacturing methods for improved manufacturability of the complex part. The manufacturing portion of the thesis and feedback into material model has incorporated a senior project team to perform research on manufacturing and create composite part to be used for experimental testing. The senior project was designed, led, and managed by the author with support from the committee chair.

Finite element modeling was refined using data from coupon 3-point bend testing to improve estimates on material properties. These properties were fed into a prototype part model which predicted deflection of composite parts with different layups and materials. The results of the model were compared to experimental results from prototype part testing and 3rd party analysis. The results showed that an accurate mid-plane shell element model could be used to accurately predict deflection for 2 of 3 experimental parts. There are recommendations in the thesis to further validate the models and experimental testing.