The Composite Materials Handbook is a product (the multi-volume handbook and associated database of material properties), an organization of nearly 200 people, and a process. This page gives a brief orientation to the products and process.

Introductory Presentation
For a more complete overview of the Composite Handbook procedures, and products, download the slides for an introduction typically given to new members at meetings. The presentation is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Handbook Volumes
Vol. 1 Guidelines for Characterization of Structural Materials, Release G, July 2012
Volume 1 explains the methods by which materials property data should be obtained, and criteria for their acceptance for publication in the Handbook. Data obtained and selected according to Volume 1 is published in Volume 2. The current version is the G release, which is available from SAE.

Vol. 2 Polymer Matrix Composites: Material Properties, Release G, July 2012
Volume 2 contains the actual material property data for polymer matrix composites. The data is arranged in categories depending on the reinforcement class and matrix class. Within a category, the the data is in chronological order (based on when data was submitted). There is also a Volume 2 Annex which segregates data for which export control restrictions apply. The current version is the G release, which is available from SAE.

Vol. 3 Materials Usage, Design and Analysis, Release G, July 2012
Volume 3 discusses usage of the data for material procurement, quality control, design, structural analysis, and reliability. Because of the three volume format, information on a given subject may be found in more than one volume. For example, thick section composites are discussed in both Volume 1 (testing methodology) and Volume 3 (analysis techniques). The current version is the G release, which is available from SAE.

Vol. 4 Metal Matrix Composites, Release B, August 2013
Volume 4 is a handbook specifically for metal matrix composites. The internal structure of the handbook follows the Vol. 1-3 structure of the PMC handbook. The current version is the B release, which is available from SAE.

Vol. 5 Ceramic Matrix Composites, July 2017

Volume 5 is the ceramic matrix handbook. The internal structure of the handbook follows the Vol. 1-3 structure of the PMC handbook. The current version is the A release, which is avalable from SAE.

Vol. 6 Structural Sandwich Composites, Initial Release, August 2013
Volume 6 captures much of the data and technology that was available in MIL-HDBK-23, but has been updated to reflect the current state-of-the-art. The 1st release is available from SAE.

History of the Composites Handbook

Handbook Approval Cycle for New Sections
A concept of a new handbook section may be conceived by a single participant or may result from a working group discussion. The writing of the section is generally assigned to one author; additional participants may serve as a task group to review the section and provide comments. The section is then distributed to the responsible working group by mail or as a hand-out during a meeting. Often at this point, comments and discussion by the working group lead to revision or improvement of the section. The section is approved by the working group upon the passing of a motion during a working group session.

When the section has been approved by the working group, it is submitted for review by the Coordination Group. The section is published in the Coordination Group Review portion of the proceedings of the meeting at which the section was approved by the working group. Review material is usually printed on yellow paper; hence this step is often identified as the Yellow Pages Review. (Yellow paper is used for all communications requiring timely action.) A six-week review period is identified in the yellow pages. At the end of this period, the section is considered approved by the Coordination Group, providing no negative comments have been received by the Secretariat.

Negative comments are identified as editorial and technical by the Secretariat. In case of any question as to the division, the comment is considered by the Handbook Co-Chairmen and the chair of the responsible working group. Minor editorial changes - correcting typographical and grammatical errors and minor rewording for clarification - are made by the Secretariat. Major editorial changes and minor technical changes are made by the Secretariat with concurrence of the chair of the responsible working group. This process often involves discussion with the author and the Handbook Co-Chairmen. Major technical changes, including any proposed changes that may be controversial, are referred back to the working group for revision and re-approval. The response to comments from the Yellow Pages Review are published in the proceedings from the following meeting.
Comments on the Handbook can be submitted by anyone at anytime. All comments and any response to them are recorded and archived by the Secretariat.