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6 million to Develop a New Generation of Composites

  • Thursday, 12th May 2011
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6 million to Develop a New Generation of Composites A team from the University of Bristols Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science and The Composites Centre at Imperial College London have been awarded a 6 million six-year programme grant by EPSRC to create a new generation of high performance, ductile fibre reinforced polymer composites capable of sustaining large deformations without breaking.

The team is led by Professor Michael Wisnom at the University of Bristol and Professor Alexander Bismarck at Imperial College London, and supported by partners including BAE Systems, dstl, Halliburton, Hexcel, Mouchel, Rolls-Royce and Vestas.

Professor Wisnom, Director of ACCIS, said: Conventional polymer matrix composites offer high strength and stiffness, low weight, and low susceptibility to fatigue and corrosion, and we are witnessing a rapid expansion of their use in aerospace and other applications, such as wind turbine blades, sporting goods and civil engineering.

Despite this progress, a fundamental limitation of current composites is their inherent brittleness. Failure can be sudden and catastrophic, with little warning or residual load carrying capacity.

Professor Bismarck added: High performance ductile composites will enable robust panels, which dent without significant loss in performance, and super-light, complex structures which indicate an overload by significant deformation but continue to support load without catastrophic failure.

Such materials will provide greater reliability and safety, together with reduced design and maintenance requirements, and longer service life.

This programme grant will scope, prioritise, develop, and combine these approaches, to achieve High Performance Ductile Composite Technology (HiPerDuCT). The research programme team are the University of Bristol: Professor Michael Wisnom, Professor Ian Bond, Professor Kevin Potter and Professor Paul Weaver and Imperial College London: Professor Alexander Bismarck, Professor Milo Shaffer, Dr Paul Robinson and Dr Joachim Steinke.


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