Center for Composite Materials - University of Delaware

Product Development


The knowledge base of an established organization provides the framework for the efficient and effective solution of difficult problems. CCM has developed many technologies over the past 40 years as the result of high-quality basic and applied research in the areas of mechanics, materials characterization, and process development of fiber-reinforced material systems. The synergy between the center’s industrial support and its basic and applied research has been the key to its past success and to the development of CCM’s knowledge-base. The key to CCM’s future success lies in the integration of its research competency with the ability to develop products by leveraging product life cycle management (PLM) technology. To that end, CCM has recently grown its capabilities to include the new composite product development center (CPDC). The main focus of the development center is to apply our knowledge-base to provide products and services to the industry using state-of-the-art computer-aided technologies and leveraging our expertise in design and product development practices.

The composite product development center consists of six functional areas organized around a composite engineering knowledge base (CEKB). This knowledge base fuels each of the CPDC functions and provides the framework to capture the ongoing technological developments actively being worked on at the center. The PLM environment efficiently manages the interaction between the centralized knowledge base and the functional areas, which are described below.

CCM Product Development Process

  • Basic and Applied Research – core technology development feeding into the knowledge base of the future. Built on CCM’s established Centers of Excellence with the Army, Navy, and FAA.
  • Product Definition – functional requirements identification, definition, and management.
  • Product Design and Analysis via PLM – design trade studies and definition of the design space, detailed design and analysis. Application of design tools – micro/macro mechanics, solid modeling, FEA.
  • Prototype Fabrication and Integration – construction of prototypes using composite processes such as VARTM, RTM, filament winding, out-of-autoclave prepregs, tape placement, and compression molding.
  • Product Testing and Evaluation – full-scale product testing and design validation.
  • Product Technology Transfer – Final stage of the development process.

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For the past 25 years CCM has transferred its developed technology to its customer base by way of the industrial consortium. The same model will apply for the product development center. Once the product has been developed, all pertinent technologies will be transferred to the customer at either the development center or on site at the customer location. The appropriate level of training will be conducted so that the product fabrication methods are clearly understood and can then be translated to production methods of manufacturing.

Knowledge Capture

The PLM environment is the umbrella that provides the framework for the software tools and functional areas to work efficiently. PLM facilitates the management of mission-critical intellectual property and control of product definition. Another component of PLM is the ability to build the knowledge base by capturing critical data, methods, and procedures by the use of expert templates that can be used for subsequent projects. This, in effect, captures best design practices and automates the CAE methods to streamline the solution process, thereby enhancing the productivity and quality of CAE.

CPDC supporting capabilities to facilitate prototype fabrication, integration and testing include:

  • Five axis Haas VF-9 CNC milling center
  • 3 axis American GFM US15 ultrasonic ply cutter
  • 6 axis faro arm with laser head for reverse engineering, measurement and inspection
  • Dedicated large-scale testing bed (8’x20’) with servo-hydraulic load capability for static and fatigue testing

Various tools and capabilities for pre-form development, part finishing, and system integration

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