Essentials of Composites Manufacturing

Course Quick Facts

  • Course Number/Course Dates
    CHE 0618-15
    Saturday, June 2 – and –
    Saturday, June 9, 2018
    (Registration CLOSED)

  • Time
    8:00am – 5:00pm
  • Cost
    $4,813: On Campus
    $4,332: On Campus-Trojan Family
    $3,850: On Campus-Boeing employee

Essentials of Composites Manufacturing provides a high-level overview of manufacturing science and engineering for aerospace composite structures, focusing on prepreg and liquid molding processes, including hands-on laboratory demonstrations.
Course participants will complete a multiple-choice quiz as a knowledge assessment, available online at the end of the course. When the course and quiz have been successfully completed, participants will receive USC Continuing Education Units.

What You Will Learn:

Essentials of Composites Manufacturing covers a number of topic areas, including:

Day 1: Prepreg Processing

  • Overview of composites manufacturing (basic processes, curing of thermoset resins, prepreg processing, autoclave/oven cure, cost/rate factors
  • Manufacturing defects (origins, effects, control, strategies)
  • Prepreg processing (hands-on material cutting and handling, layup, bagging, and oven cure)
  • Design of composite aerostructures (structural complexity, scale-up)
  • Post-processing (high-level discussion of inspection, machining, joining, repair, and testing)
  • Laminate testing demonstration (demolding, NDE, and tensile coupon testing)
  • Note: Laminates fabricated during lab 1 may not be fully cured by the end of the course. Hence, laminate quality testing (lab 2) may rely on previously-cured laminates (particularly if tensile tests are preferred, which require end tabs). Cured laminates.

Day 2: Liquid Molding (RTM and Vacuum Infusion)

  • Liquid molding of composites (closed-mold and open-mold variants, basic processing steps, cost/rate factors)
  • Manufacturing defects (origins, effects, control strategies)
  • RTM demonstration (preform preparation, layup, injection, and cure using instrumented mini-RTM mold)
  • Challenges with liquid molding
  • Vacuum infusion (preform preparation, layup, infusion, and cure on flat tool plate)
  • Note: The RTM lab will consist of a hands-off demonstration, since we only have one RTM system available, but will include in situ video demonstrating effects of process parameters on mold filling and air removal. The vacuum infusion lab will consist of two infusion set-ups (teams of 4 people max.).


What you will gain:

Upon completion of this course, you will walk away with the following skills:

  • Describe basic material and process (M&P) parameters for prepregs and effects on resulting structures
  • Identify and discuss major M&P issues, including material properties, material placement, manufacturing defects and their influence on mechanical properties, quality control strategies, cost reduction, and post-processing steps (e.g. inspection, machining, joining, and repair)
  • Provide a high-level overview of major fabrication methods for aerospace composite
  • Describe basic material and process (M&P) parameters for liquid molding processes (RTM and vacuum infusion) and effects on resulting structures
  • Discuss major M&P issues, including preform preparation, molding, manufacturing defects and quality control strategies.

On-Campus: Course is held in state-of-the-art facilities on the University of Southern California campus, located in downtown Los Angeles. Participants attending on-campus will have the option to commute to the course or stay at one of the many hotels located in the area.

Overview of on-campus option:

  • The ability to interact with faculty and peers in person.
  • Access to hard copy course materials.
  • Parking, refreshments and lunch are provided for on-campus participants – unless otherwise specified.

Course Instructors

Dr. Steve Nutt is the M.C. Gill Professor and the founding Director of the M.C. Gill Composites Center, where he supervises a group devoted to research in composites processing and manufacturing.  He joined the USC faculty in 1994, and was previously Associate Professor at Brown University.  He earned his PhD in Materials Science at the University of Virginia in 1982.

Dr. Lessa Kay Grunenfelder is on the faculty of the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, with an appointment in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in materials science and performs research on out-of- autoclave processing of composites.

Dr. Timotei Centea is a Research Assistant Professor in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering, USC. His research focuses on composites manufacturing, with emphasis on fundamental processing science, advanced manufacturing techniques, and efficiency/sustainability. In addition, Dr. Centea contributes to workforce training in composites through education sessions at conferences.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

CEUs: 1.6

Course participants will complete a multiple-choice quiz as a knowledge assessment, available online at the end of the course. When the course and quiz have been successfully completed, participants will receive USC Continuing Education Units.

Program Cost & Registration Options:

On-Campus Participants: $4,813

Reduced Pricing:

Trojan Family: $4,332
USC alumni, current students, faculty, and staff receive 10% reduced pricing on registration.

Boeing: $3,850
Boeing employees receive 20% off registration fees (please use Boeing email address when registering).

Course Registration:

CHE 0618-15 (June 2 and June 9, 2018): Registration Closed

Please email for more information on future course dates. 

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