Design limits for carbon fibre reinforced polymers

Hudson Boat Works in London, Ontario is the only company in Canada that manufactures high-performance rowing shells. Hudson wishes to employ finite element techniques to optimize the design of their rowing shells and associated structures using advanced engineering techniques. Optimization of composite materials design requires a detailed understanding of their mechanical response, including how they fail. Researchers at Western will focus on studying these failure mechanisms, and in doing so will generate the material data required for finite element analysis. The fracture surfaces of Hudson’s single ply materials and sandwich panels will be evaluated using optical and scanning electron microscopy to characterize the failure mode.

The successful conclusion of this project will provide Hudson with the requisite capabilities to employ advanced engineering techniques to optimize their composite structures. Furthermore, improved understanding of failure mechanisms in composite materials is applicable to a wide variety of industries with requirements for tough, lightweight materials.

Faculty Supervisor:

Drs. Jeffrey T. Wood & Pawel Kurowski


Ying Fan


Hudson Boat Works


Engineering - other




Western University



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