Book Review: Composites Design Manual
James Quinn describes his Composites Design Manual with the following statement:
The essential aspect of the book is practical information for the Engineer, Designer and Specifier to facilitate the design and procurement of FRP, Graphite, and Aramid composites. It includes many tables, figures and examples to make life easier for those involved with the practicalities of composites.
That is a fairly accurate description of the book. You won't find any theoretical discussions in CDM - the entire book is oriented to the practical aspects of manufacturing with composites. Although most manufacturing processes are covered, the emphasis is definitely on wet layups.
At a rough estimate, about half of the book consists of figures and tables of data. These include material properties (in both graphical and tabular form), manufacturer data sheets, listings of chemical resistance, plots of stiffness and strength versus various parameters, section properties of pultrusions, and much more. In short, there's a little bit of everything.
The problem is that it has to be a little bit. It would be very difficult to provide a comprehensive set of data in anything short of an encyclopedia, so the data sets are more a sampling than a complete reference. For example, the chemical resistance tables cover just 10 resins from Alpha/Owens Corning, and prepreg properties are listed only for Advanced Composite Group materials (and then only resin properties are given).
The data given are usually representative of the wider range of materials. They are therefore good as introductions to different concepts, and as starting points for selecting classes of materials. The Suppliers list at the end, however, only provides information about the companies mentioned in the main portion of the book. More useful would be a larger list of suppliers, categorized by chapter or topic area.
The third chapter consists of a series of process data sheets, which are basically one page descriptions of different manufacturing processes. This is a very useful but brief reference. As with the material properties, the brevity of the contents leaves you wanting more information, but there are no references or bibliographies.
In reading this book, I couldn't help but compare it to Manufacturing of Polymer Composites by B.T. Åström, which I reviewed about two years ago. The subjects covered by the two books are very similar, but Dr. Åström goes into significantly more detail, yet maintains an engaging style. If you want actual manufacturer data sheets or are looking for some practical design formulas, CDM is a good choice. For learning about materials and processing, and for more assistance in getting started with your design or manufacturing task, my preference would have to be Manufacturing of Polymer Composites.
Composites Design Manual could also use some heavy editing before a second edition is released. There are numerous grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors throughout the book, and the small font size (I think it's eight point) is hard on the eyes.
Composites Design Manual is available for purchase from the publisher.
Details: Composites Design Manual, by
James A. Quinn, published by Technomic Publishing Company, 1999, ISBN
1. Materials: Resins, Catalysts, Reinforcements, Multi-Axials, Release Agents; 2. Properties: Mechanical, Physical, Environmental; 3. Processes: Descriptions, Characterisation Charts, Materials Related To Processes; 4. Construction Analysis: Weight / Volume Fraction, Density, Thickness, Surface Area Based, Cross-Sectional Area Based, Compressibility; 5. Property Prediction: Elastic, Strength, Physical; 6. Design: Data Sheets, Design Process, Pseudo-Isotropic, UTUL / UTUS, Examples; 7. Reference: Moulders and Fabricators, Suppliers, Index