Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Zhong Hu

Second Advisor

Todd Letcher


3D printing, Biomimetics, Cellular structure, Discontinuous fiber reinforced composites, FEA, Lightweight composite material design


Lightweight material design is an indispensable subject in product design. The lightweight material design has high strength to weight ratio which becomes a huge attraction and an area of exploration for the researchers as its application is wide and increasing even in every day-to-day product. Lightweight composite material design is achieved by selection of the cellular structure and its optimization. Cellular structure is used as it has wide multifunctional properties in addition to the lightweight characteristics. Applications of light weight cellular structures are wide and is witnessed in all industries from aerospace to automotive, construction to product design. In this thesis, the one-step and two-step approaches for design and prediction of cellular structure's performance are presented for developing lightweight cellular composites reinforced by discontinuous fibers. The topology designs of a 2D honeycomb hexagon model, a 2D cuttlefish model, and a 3D octahedron model, inspired by bio material, are presented. Computer modeling based on finite element analysis was conducted on the periodic representative volume elements identified from the cellular structural models to characterize the designed cellular composites performance and properties. Additive manufacturing technique (3D printing) was used for prototyping the design, and experimental tests were carried out for validating the design methodology.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Three-dimensional printing.
Lightweight materials.
Composite materials.
Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 78-86).



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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