Theses and Dissertations


Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Priddy, Matthew W., Jr.

Committee Member

Kundu, Santanu

Committee Member

Lacy, Thomas E., Jr.

Committee Member

Pittman, Charles U., Jr.

Committee Member

Smith, Dennis W., Jr.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Mechanical Engineering


The aviation industry aims to reduce its environmental impact through innovation and research. The usage of composite materials for multiple primary structures represents one such measure. Several alternative fuels were approved and used along with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These alternative fuels are produced from wastes and biomasses. Some alternative fuels were initially only approved as drop-in fuels, meaning they must be blended with conventional fuels to operate. Fuel tanks are usually embedded into the wing structure, which is mainly made of composite materials. These composites tend to absorb fluids it encounters through their matrix phase. The absorption behavior of conventional fuels by composite materials is well documented, while alternative fuels, blended or pure, are not as widely reported. The effects of four alternative fuel blends on aerospace-grade composites were investigated and compared with the conventional fuel Jet A. No significant differences were found in weight gain. The thermomechanical properties changes were also studied, with no difference between the alternative fuel blends and the conventional fuel. Additionally, model fluids with similar chemical structures as alternative fuels were used. The uptake of these model fluids was studied cyclically and compared with Jet A and one aromatic fluid. Small differences were seen in the weight gain results, primarily due to the type of model fluids used. Also, the thermomechanical properties showed no differences between these model fluids, Jet A and the pure aromatic fluid. This means that the slight differences in weight gain did not affect the changes in properties. From the results obtained, the alternative fuels blended, and the model fluids showed no differences in effects on the thermomechanical properties versus Jet A. This implies that similar effects are expected from either type of fluids used. Finite element analysis was used to model fluid’s diffusion in composite materials using different material parameters. The parameters were fiber packing, arrangement and permeability. Each parameters impacted the equilibrium uptake and the diffusion rate differently.