By Danielle Fretwell

The Francis College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering, invites you to attend a doctoral dissertation defense by Mathew Schey on “The Effects of Manufacturing on Carbon Fiber Reinforced Composites.”

Candidate Name: Mathew Schey
Degree: Doctoral
Defense Date: Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Time: noon to 2 p.m.
Location: DAN- 220 and via Zoom


  • Advisor Scott Stapleton, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, UMass Lowell
  • Mariana Maiaru, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, UMass Lowell
  • Tibor Beke, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, UMass Lowell
  • David Mollenhauer, Principal Materials Engineer, AFRL

Brief Abstract:

Carbon fiber reinforced composites (CFRPs) have become an industry standard in most applications requiring high strength to weight ratios. CFRPs have been manufactured in a multitude of ways, leaving manufacturers with a certain degree of control over cost and final strength. One consequence of the manufacturing is entanglement within the fibrous microstructure. Entanglement occurs when neighboring carbon fibers become non-parallel to each other, or off-axis from their intended orientation. It is thought that the presence of entanglement has a significant influence on the property scatter of composite materials. Therefore, the proper quantification of the microstructural features of carbon fibers is

necessary for the advancement of microstructural modeling. The proposed work presents 1) a novel cluster metric which detects fiber bundles within a CFRP in an automated way, 2) and experiment isolating the entanglement within three composite microstructures when all other manufacturing parameters remain constant, and 3) a survey of manufacturing methods to understand which metrics differ and which remain the same across all methods. In this work, a case is made for the use of these metrics to link a fibrous microstructure back to the manufacturing process that created it. Studying these metrics could provide a basis for discussion of the differences in manufacturing methods and their effects on the microstructure, as well as provide a mathematical description of the way real fibers are organized with the potential for informing artificial microstructural generation.

All interested students and faculty members are invited to attend the online defense via remote access.