Book Review: Composites Engineering Handbook
In my first feature, Essential Reference Books, I reviewed the three reference books I thought every composites engineer should have. This week, I review a fourth book that is a close contender for that list.
The Composites Engineering Handbook, edited by P.K. Mallick, is a thick book (1200+ pages) divided into 25 chapters by various authors. It covers the full range of composites topics, including basic material properties, analytical methods, processing techniques, testing, and design. Although it does not have quite the breadth of the Engineered Materials Handbook Volume 1: Composites (reviewed in my first column), it comes close. Furthermore, the quality of the writing is more consistent, and the individual chapters have more depth. If asked to choose between the two books, I would have a tough time deciding.
The introductory chapter covers the usual topics, but also has some unusual sections such as aramid-aluminum and cement matrix composites. A good number of sample applications are shown (with pictures), including many beyond the traditional aerospace and automotive industries; these include marine, electrical, orthopedic, and construction applications.
Fibers and matrices are each covered in their own chapters. The fiber chapter includes chemistry, material properties, micrographs of the fibers themselves, and descriptions of bulk material forms (tows, fabrics, etc.). The matrix chapter covers a wide range of thermoset resins, but only treats thermoplastic resins briefly. However, the chapter also includes a lengthy discussion of fiber/matrix adhesion.
The analytical chapters cover micromechanics, lamination theory, woven composites, and fatigue and fracture. Unlike many encyclopedic works, these sections do not consist of simple listings of equations. The concepts are introduced with suitable dicsussion, and the derivation of most formulas is shown. This book would probably be suitable as a lamination theory textbook.
The processing chapters cover most methods for traditional composites, and also cover thermoplastic and metal matrix composites, joining, repair, and machining. Each chapter covers just about every relevant topic in its area. For example, the chapter on traditional laminated structures starts with a description of the curing process (the chemical chagnes the resin undergoes). It then describes the differences between the fibers and their forms, such as which cloths have the best drape, then shows the combined physics of the cure cycle (consolidation and resin flow through the fibers) in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Finally, several different lamination techniques are discussed in detail, including various types of wet layup, press molding, autoclave processing, resin transfer molding (RTM), and thermoplastic molding. As a nice final touch, the bibliography is organized by the same topics as the rest of the chapter.
Two of the most important chapters are joining and repair, and machining. The first chapter not only covers the basic techniques, but it also gives the detailed formulas for designing bonded and bolted joints. Repair procedures are covered as case studies, and the joining techniques are applied as appropriate. The machining chapter is somewhat short, but covers drilling (inlcuding the mechanics of drilling and the best bits to use), cutting, sawing, routing, grinding, laser machining, waterjet cutting, electrodischarge and electrochemical spark machining, and ultrasonic machining.
Five chapters on material properties cover the five major types of composites dicsussed in the book. Each is full of data for various static, dynamic, fatigue, impact, and environmental conditions. Although it's always dangerous to use this data for real designs, each graph or table is referenced to the original source so you can check its accuracy.
The chapters on testing cover methods for both constituent materials and composites. ASTM methods are referenced, along with the relevant formulas for calculating properties from the test data. Where more than one method is available (such as for in-plane shear properties), the pros and cons are compared. The chapter on nondestructive testing is not quite as detailed, but does cover most of the methods currently in use.
The book concludes with three chapters on design methods. Although well-written, these are probably the weakest chapters of the book. The material is good, but there just isn't enough of it.
Details: Composites Engineering Handbook, edited by
P.K. Mallick, published by Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1997, ISBN
Part I. Introduction: 1. Introduction: Definitions, Classifications, and Applications
Part II. Constituents: 2. Fibers, Fabrics, and Fillers; 3. Matrix Resins and Fiber/Matrix Adhesion
Part III. Mechanics: 4. Micromechanics; 5. Mechanics of Laminated Structures; 6. Mechanics of Woven Fabric Composites; 7. Fracture and Damage Mechanics in Laminated Composites
Part IV. Processing: 8. Processing for Laminated Structures; 9. Press Molding Processes; 10. Filament Winding; 11. The Pultrusion Process; 12. Processing of Thermoplastic Matrix Composites; 13. Processing of Particle-Reinforced Metal Matrix Composites; 14. Joining and Repair of Aircraft Composite Structures; 15. Machining of Composite Materials
Part V. Properties and Performance: 16. Laminated Polymer Matrix Composites; 17. Random Fiber Composites; 18. Selection Guidelines for Metal Matrix Composites; 19. Ceramic Matrix Composites; 20. Cement Matrix Composites
Part VI. Testing: 21. Mechanical Property Measurements; 22. Nondestructive Tests
Part VII. Engineering with Composite Materials: 23. Design Methodology and Practices; 24. Materials Selection, Preliminary Design, and Sizing for Composite Laminates; 25. Design Considerations for Laminated Composites