Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Automotive Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Srikanth Pilla

Committee Member

Dr. Gang Li

Committee Member

Dr. Rahul Rai

Committee Member

Dr. Morteza Sabet


With a growing focus on reducing the adverse effects of transportation on the environment, industries are seeking fuel-efficient and sustainable solutions. Fuel efficiency can be improved in several ways, but structural lightweighting has demonstrated overall effectiveness. In this regard, thermoplastic composites and additive manufacturing (AM) thermoplastics have become viable candidates for use in the automotive industry, given the need for weight reduction and efficiency improvement.

The advantages of AM include simplifying supply chains, simplifying part geometry, and enabling mass customization. In order to design high-performance AM structures, extensive modeling and simulation are required. AM thermoplastics are similar to conventional manufacturing methods like injection or compression molding. However, due to layer-by-layer production, pressureless manufacturing, and a lower cooling rate, AM thermoplastic parts demonstrate anisotropy, higher porosity, and a different crystal structure than conventional manufacturing methods. These properties affect deformation, degradation, and failure mechanisms, which must be considered to enhance performance analysis accuracy at all stages of structural design.

AM technology is good for applications where customization is more important than scalability. Fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites combine the flexibility and ease of processing of thermoplastics with the strength and stiffness of reinforcing fibers, such as carbon or glass fibers. The fast cycle times associated with thermoplastic composites make them suitable for high-volume production, providing an advantage over traditional thermoset composites, which typically require longer curing times.

Different advanced manufacturing processes produce parts with different microstructural and mechanical properties. Beginning at the coupon level and progressing up to full scale, knowledge of the material and structural behaviors is built step by step. Linking process-structure-property-performance will enable a quantitative prediction of final parts performance based on given manufacturing parameters.

Available for download on Saturday, May 31, 2025