The Skills

Overview and Topics

The Composites Technician Certificate is a hybrid course that is comprised of three separate courses; “Introduction to Composites”, “Manufacturing”, and “Repair”. Each course starts online; covering the concepts involved, then students will come in for various labs to build their skills.

Some of the topics include:

FIber types
Handling procedures
Core materials
Wet layup
Tooling fabrication
MSDS and safety
SRM awareness
Prepreg composites
NDI understanding
Damage assessment
Hot bonders
Film adhesives
Scarf and step repairs
Honeycomb core repair

Introduction to Composites

This course teaches students the basic concepts behind the major composites materials. Fiber, weave patterns, core materials, and resins are all part of this section. The lab connected to this class involves a wet layup using various ply orientations and core thicknesses. This is a simple but great exercise to cover not only the methods of the wet layup but also vacuum bagging, pleating, and ply stackup.


This section gets more into the actual process of fabricating parts and tooling. The online lecture covers all the popular layup methods, including prepreg, filament winding, pultrusion, Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), Vacuum assisted RTM (VARTM or Infusion) and compression molding. Our lab for this section is a multipart exercise on tool making. We start by making a foam plug from an existing part, and then proceed to develop a tool (mold) that can be used to make successive parts. This also include several different layup methods including painted on fiberglass weave, chopped glass fiber, silica thickening, and chopped strand matting. Flanges are also built into the part to demonstrate how mold fitting is an important part of your production process.


The repair portion of the certificate program really brings home all the knowledge learned up to this point. The online portion talks in detail about not only the various repair methods, but also the process and procedures involved in most large aerospace facilities pertaining to the repair of aircraft. Understanding that you work as part of a team (Repair Technician, NDI, and Engineering) is stressed and the use of the aircraft manufacture's Structure Repair Manual (SRM) and other critical documentation is a necessity.

Our lab is again, multipart. Prepreg carbon fiber and aramid honeycomb are stacked up and cured using a hot bonder. Each student learns to configure their own machine. After the part has cured, the part is damaged and student will begin their repair process. The panel we create is large enough to give the student the opportunity to make several repairs. These are mostly all "full core" replacement, but septum and surface repairs are also part of this process. For student that wish to take this a bit further, a finishing process is added where they will have to make the repaired part ready for paint and even paint it themselves.
The Business Training Center of Edmonds Community College