Approved by Faculty Senate.

University Studies Course Approval

Department or Program: Engineering

Course Number: ENGR 465

Course Title: Composite Characterization Techniques

Number of Credits: 3

Catalog Description: (3 S.H.) A lecture-laboratory course. Overview of various thermal, chemical, microscopic and surface characterization techniques and their applications to composite materials. Determination of thermomechanical, viscoelastic, glass-transition temperature, melting point, and cure properties of polymer matrix composites. Determination of thermal stability and surface analysis of metal matrix composites. Emphasis on technical writing of laboratory reports. This course is one of four engineering courses that collectively satisfy 6 credits of the writing flag requirement in the University Studies Program.

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2 Yes .


This is a new course proposal No . (If this is a new course proposal, the WSU Curriculum Approval Form must also be completed as in the process prescribed by WSU Regulation 3-4.)

Department Contact Person for this course: Maryam Grami


The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in (select one area only):

Course Requirements

A. Basic Skills: B. Arts & Sciences Core:

______ 1. College Reading and Writing ______ 1. Humanities

______ 2. Oral Communication ______ 2. Natural Science

______ 3. Mathematics ______ 3. Social Science

______ 4. Physical Development and Wellness ______ 4. Fine & Performing Arts


C. Unity and Diversity: D. Flagged Courses:

1. Critical Analysis ___X_ 1. Writing

______ 2. Science and Social Policy ______ 2. Oral

______ 3. a. Global Perspectives ______ 3. a. Mathematics/ Statistics

______ b. Multicultural Perspectives ______ b. Critical Analysis

__ __ 4. a. Contemporary Citizenship

______ b. Democratic Institutions






Course Syllabus


ENGR 465: Composite Characterization Techniques

Fall 2001


Instructor: Dr. Maryam E. Grami

Office: 203G ST

Tel: (507) 457- 5348


Office Hours: Mon. : 8:30 - 12:00 a.m., and 1:00 - 4:30 p.m.,

Wed. : 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., and Fri. 9:00-11:00 a.m.

Teaching Assistant: Dawson Bausman

Tutoring hours: Mon. 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. and Thurs. 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. in Room 213 Stark.

Text: A Guide to Materials Characterization and Chemical Analysis

BY: John P. Sibilia VCH Publisher, New York, 1996



1. Introduction Chapter 1

2. Molecular Spectroscopy Chapter 2

- Infrared Spectroscopy

- Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

3. X-Ray Analysis ……. Chapter 6

- X-ray Powder Diffraction

4. Thermal Analysis Chapter 9

- Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)

- Themomechanical Analysis (TMA)

- Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

- Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA)

- Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)

5. Microscopy Chapter 7

- Optical Microscopy

- Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

6. Surface Analysis Chapter 8

- Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis (SEM + EDX)

- Electron Beam X-ray Microanalysis (EMA)

- X-Ray Photoelectron Spectrometry (ESCA, or XPS)


1. Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FT-IR)

2. X-ray Diffraction

3. Themomechanical Analysis (TMA)

4. Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)

5. Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA)

6. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)

7. Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)

8. Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis (Polymer-Matrix and Metal-Matrix Composites)


a. Exams:

Mid-semester (Oct. 16, 2001): 20%

Final Exam: 20%

2. Lab Reports:

a. Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectrometry (FT-IR) 5%

b. X-ray Diffraction 5%

c. Themomechanical Analysis (TMA) 5%

d. Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA) 5%

e. Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA) 5%

f. Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) 5%

g. Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA). 5%

h. Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-ray Microanalysis (Polymer-Matrix and Metal-Matrix Composites) 5%

3. Group Presentation of an Analytical Method 5%

4. Project 10%

5. Lab Performance and Portfolio* 5%

* Portfolio: include

1. Class handouts

2. Class notes

3. Lab reports

4. Mid-semester exam

    1. Articles that you have gathered for your project and its presentation.


This course is designed to inform senior students about various analytical techniques that are used to characterize materials, so that a student may select the correct equipment and experimental parameters to yield the desired information.

This course is designed to satisfy the requirements in Writing Flag.





Contribution of Course to Writing Flag Requirements:



Course 4/4. Composites Characterization Techniques

Creating & completing successful writing

Understand features of uses of writing in engineering

Adapt writing to expectations in engineering

Use of technology in research and writing

Conventions of evidence, format, usage, & documentation in engineering

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR)












X-ray Diffraction (XRD)






Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA)






Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)- requirements and goals











Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA)






Differential Scanning Calorimetry(DSC)






Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)






Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) polymer matrix composites











SEM - EDX (energy dispersive x-ray analysis) metal matrix composite













  1. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing successful writing in their fields.
  2. This course is a lecture-laboratory course. During the lecture hours students learn the theoretical background for the experiments they perform in the laboratory. Additionally, numerous practical examples on the wide varieties of applications for the experiments are introduced during the lecture. The course has been assigned the most recent and advanced text book on the subject matter. Several reference books are included for additional information. The laboratory activities include a total of nine experiments and a research project. Students are required to write a complete laboratory report for each experiment and a more detailed report and a presentation for their research project.

  3. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to understand the main features and uses of writing in their fields.
  4. Students are required to attend the lecture hours. The reports they write include an Introduction section that covers the scientific background for the experiment. This obligates students to study the theoretical background of the experiment. In the Results and Discussion sections, students are required to implement their understanding of the background theory on analysis of the data they obtained from the experiments.

  5. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to adapt their writing to the general expectations of readers in their fields.
  6. Students are provided with a handout explaining the format of the reports and the details to be included in each section of the report. The format is similar to the format of a research paper in an engineering journal.

  7. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in their fields.
  8. The state-of-the-art equipment used for teaching this course includes scanning electron microscope, x-ray diffractometer, and five latest models of thermal analyses systems. As the last part of the experimental work, groups of three to four students are required to design a set experimental procedure for a research project. They need to perform a series of tests from what they learned in the laboratory to fully analyze and evaluate the effects of processing methods, environmental conditions, or various mechanical loadings on the performance of the samples they prepared. The students use MS Word, Excel and engineering graphics software to write their findings and produce professional reports.



  9. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their fields.

For the laboratory reports, students are required to include: Abstract, Introduction, Experimental (Materials, Equipment, and Method), Results, Discussion, and References. In their results section, they are required to analyze their data and compare their results to the published data. In the discussion sections they need to discuss the differences between their results and the published data, explain the reasons for the discrepancies, and identify the sources of error. This is an accepted technical writing method in the engineering field.


  1. Polymers: Polymer Characterization and Analysis, Jacqueline I. Kroschwitz, John Wiely & Sons, 1987.
  2. Turi, Thermal Characterization of Polymeric Materials, Academic Press, 1997.
  3. Speyer, Thermal Analysis of Materials, Dekker, New York, 1994.

4. Wendlandt, Thermal Analysis, Wiley, 1986.

5. Cullity, Elements of X-ray Diffraction, Addison-Wesley, 1985.

6. Abramowitz, Microscope, Basics and Beyond, Olympus Corporation, 1985.

7. Kampf, Characterization of Plastics by Physical Methods, Hanser Publication, New York, 1986.

Note 1: There is a penalty of 50% of the lab grade for not attending any laboratory session.

Note 2: You are required to wear Safety Glasses in the laboratory all the times. If a student failed to wear Safety Glasses he/she will be dismissed for the day and will receive failing grade for that lab.

(Local address for Safety Glasses: Tristate Airgas, 301 E 3rd St. Winona, 454-8445)

Approval/Disapproval Recommendations


Department Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date:______

Chairperson Signature_______________________ Date______


Dean's Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved ____* Date:______

Dean's Signature_______________________ Date______

*In the case of a Dean's recommendation to disapprove a proposal a written rationale for the recommendation to disapprove shall be provided to USS


USS Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date:______

University Studies Director's Signature_______________________ Date______


A2C2 Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved_____ Date:______

A2C2 Chairperson Signature_______________________ Date______


Faculty Senate Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date:______

FA President's Signature_______________________ Date______

Academic Vice President's Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date:______

VP's Signature_______________________ Date______


President's Decision: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date:______

President's Signature_______________________ Date______