Learn the best strategies for the simulation of composite materials


Discover the most valuable and efficient numerical strategies to get high-quality simulations of composite materials

Understand all the concepts behind the FE models: multiscale modeling, cohesive zone models, periodic boundary conditions, residual stresses, damage modeling…

Save lots of time automating your numerical models thanks to Python scripts in Abaqus

Learn how to fix your simulation if it does not converge, even in the presence of damage and other nonlinearities

Learn how to interpret the results of your numerical models and a lot more tips and recommendations to obtain stunning and meaningful visualizations

The course is meant not only to guide you step by step to develop finite element models, but also to explain why these models are designed in such way 


My name is Miguel Herráez, I am an industrial engineer and Phd in Materials Science.

My first contact with Composite Materials was at the end of my BSc in Mechanical Engineering, performing my final project in the US (West Virginia University).

Thanks to my Advisor (Prof. Ever Barbero), I started to get more and more involved in that field. At that moment, I did not know that it was just the beginning of my scientific career.

I have been studying, testing and developing Finite Element (FE) simulations since 2013, when I started my Phd on numerical modeling of fiber-reinforced composites. I still remember the first years in which I had to learn very little by little about this topic on my own. 

For that reason, I have finally prepared this course with which I want you to learn the numerical strategies for the simulation of composite materials.

You will learn in some hours all what I have learnt in almost 10 years!

Where have I learnt and collaborated in my career?

NASA Langley

Visitting researcher

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Post-doctoral researcher


Industrial and scientific projects

University of West Virginia (WVU)

BSc final project

IMDEA Materials Institute

Research assistant

University Rey Juan Carlos

Assistant Professor

Polytechnic University of Madrid

Phd in Mechanics of Materials

Carlos III University of Madrid

BSc in Industrial Engineering

Structure of the course

  • The course follows the Bottom-up Multiscale strategy and is organized into 3 main chapters: Computational Micromechanics, Computational Mesomechanics and Computational Macromechanics
  • Computational Micromechanics is the mainstay to understand and model the deformation mechanisms of composite materials starting at the constituents scale.
  • Whereas Mesomechanics is the perfect framework to simulate real-scale components (mm to cm), and at the same time to reproduce all the failure mechanisms of composite plies and laminates.
  • Computational Macromechanics combines a set of modeling assumptions that make possible the numerical analysis of large components and composite structures (scale of meters).
  • The course is made of more than 26 hours organized into more than 170 videos and a lot of additional resources: Python scripts, exercises, scientific papers and technical reports, links to specific sections of the documentation…
  • The course compiles all what I have learnt about the simulation of composite materials along almost 10 years of thousands of trial-and-errors, extensive literature reviews and many discussions with colleagues in this field.
  • Every 2 hours of the course, you will save 1 full year of testing on your own: aborted simulations, periodic boundary conditions not working, meshing problems, issues with cohesive elements, interpretation mistakes, visualization improvements…

Check the contents of the course

(+26 hours, 5 blocks, +170 lessons, +60 scripts, +40 papers & references)

BLOCK 1: Introduction

  1. Introduction to composite materials
      • Composites along History
      • Composites in the industry
      • Virtual testing of composites
      • Heterogeneity and anisotropy


  1. Hierarchical architecture of composite structures
      • A strategy to simulate composite materials: Multiscale modeling
      • Length-scale 1: Computational Micromechanics
      • Length-scale 2: Computational Mesomechanics
      • Length-scale 3: Computational Macromechanics


  • Abaqus/Scripting: Ventajas y Potencial
  • Ejemplo 1: construcción de un modelo sencillo en Abaqus/CAE (con interfaz)
  • Construcción del modelo anterior mediante Abaqus/Scripting
  • Breve introducción a Python
  • Potencial de Abaqus/Scripting en el modelo anterior (dimensiones, condiciones de contorno…)

Beam unixial tension

BLOCK 2: Computational Micromechanics (CMM) - 10 hours

  1. Why CMM?
      • Fundamentals of CMM
      • Numerical strategies: Periodic Representative Volume Elements

  1. Elastic homogenization of a UD ply
      • Development of a unit cell model
      • Periodic Boundary Conditions in 2D and 3D (PBC)
      • Automatic generation of the RVE model (Python script)
      • Implementation of an algorithm to generate random periodic microstructures
      • Automatic homogenization of the elastic properties of the UD ply


  1. Strengths prediction of a UD ply
      • Limitations of periodic RVE models
      • How to include matrix plasticity and fiber-matrix decohesion
      • Automatic generation of the RVE including cohesive elements (Python script)
      • Application and analysis of multiple loading cases: failure mechanisms
      • Consideration of thermal residual stresses

  1. Alternatives to periodic RVE models
      • Embedded cell models

BLOCK 3: Computational Mesomechanics - 7 hours

  1. Why Mesomechanics?
      • Fundamentals of Mesomechanics
      • Modeling strategy
      • Inputs required in FE models

  1. Elastic analysis of a pinned joint
      • Development of the FE model in Abaqus
      • Modeling of the individual plies of the laminate
      • Definition of contacts
      • Automatic generation of the model (Python scripts)


  1. Failure analysis
      • Definition of failure criteria of materials and examples
      • Failure theories applied to composite materials
      • Failure of composite plies in Abaqus

  1. Damage analysis
      • Introduction to damage mechanisms at the mesoscale
      • Intralaminar damage modeling
      • Interlaminar damage modeling I (elements)
      • Interlaminar damage modeling II (surfaces)
      • Concept of Fracture Process Zone (FPZ)
      • Solvers and steps (implicit-explicit, static-dynamic)
      • Convergence: tips and recommendations

  1. Conclusions
      • Summary of modeling techniques and theoretical concepts
      • More modeling techniques and theories (state of the art)

BLOCK 4: Computational Macromechanics - 8 hours

  1. Why Macromechanics?
      • Introduction to Macromechanics
      • Modeling strategy
      • Inputs required in FE models


  1. Solid or shell elements
      • Benchmark of a beam model
      • Advantages and drawbacks of shell and solid elements
      • Fundamental concepts: hourglass and shear locking


  1. Fundamentals of Comp. Macromechanics
      • Composite layups in Abaqus
      • Classic Laminate Theory
      • Multiple examples of different laminates
      • Effective laminate moduli


  1. Practical case: Cylindrical vessel
      • Initial analysis from black metal material
      • Efficient laminate design (balanced layup)
      • Advanced failure criteria of composite plies: LaRC05
      • Modeling ply drop-offs
      • Analysis of thermal residual stresses
      • Sandwich laminate for cryogenic application


  1. Concluding remarks
      • Summary and conclusions
      • More modeling techniques (state of the art)

BLOCK 5: Challenges in virtual testing of composites

  1. Numerical analysis of composite materials
      • Past, present and future of virtual testing
      • What is yet to be understood
      • Pending challenges

The course is based on these three pillars:


  • Why do we design the model in such or such way? Learn to analyze and design finite element models based on experimental observations supported by theoretical explanations.
  • How do we implement this design into an FE model? Learn step-by-step how to develop the FE models in Abaqus from scratch. In all cases, we will also learn how to generate and customize a Python script to automate and parameterize all the workflow.
  • What is the interpretation of the results? Learn the meaning of each result and how to obtain stunning visualizations. You will get the basis to interpret the results of any other finite element simulation.

You will not only learn to design, build and solve the models covered during the course, but also you will be ready to develop a thousand more types of models!

I have invested a lot preparing this course and I am really proud of the result. I strongly believe that it is going to be super useful for you and a huge time-saver.


    Access this course forever. Watch the videos and review the lessons anytime, at your own pace


    I will personally solve all of your questions through the Comments section of the course


    You will have access to all the updates and new content added periodically to the course


    After finishing the course you will get your certificate of completion

    What my students think of the course

    “I have just completed the Simulation of Composite Materials with Abaqus course. I have to say this has been such a great course from the very beginning till the end. Very well presented, explained and structured, combining theory, references, methodology, and practical case studies, with the thinking process capturing the essence of the topic. This course and the knowledge you share makes me want to know even more and dive deeper. I have really enjoyed this course and I am hoping to see more content and courses on composites. I would highly recommend this course. The value and content that is presented in the course saves countless hours of research and struggle

    Radovan Fridrich

    Composites Engineer, UK

    “I started your course on composites. You saved my life. I can now speed up a lot of my research.
    It was the best day of my PhD until now.
    Thanks a lot!”

    Giuseppe Romano

    Doctoral Researcher at The University of Manchester (United Kingdom) / Regional Representative at NAFEMS Italy

    “(…) it is a very useful course to understand the interface with Python and the examples provide very clear guidelines on how to use it in the workflow with Abaqus. Regarding the quizzes, they are very nice to put attention to some key points. A lot of material is covered, and quizzes help in refreshing and settling some topics (…). Finally, I would recommend the course to Abaqus users, because it’s a very good intro to Python scripting and impressive results are achieved even with the student edition of Abaqus

    Krishnan Gonesh

    Structural and R&D Engineer, AutoForm Engineering (The Netherlands)

    Give it a try without any risk

    You have 15 days for refunds

    For the refund to be possible, there is only one condition: you shall not have watched more than 20% of the course during the first 15 days after purchase. If that is the case, you only need to send an email to and you will be refunded

    Online course


    5 blocks of contents

    +170 lessons

    +26 h of recorded videos

    +60 Python scripts

    +40 papers and references

    Fully compatible with Abaqus Student Edition