Composites Research Group

Image of Shuai Chen

Shuai Chen

Senior Research Fellow,



Dr Shuai Chen is a Senior Research Fellow in Composites Research Group. His current research focuses on design, analysis, and optimisation of composites forming process for Automotive & Aerospace sectors. He has specialised in the development of composites manufacturing processes and simulations, and is committed to supplying feasible solutions for high-quality and defect-free preforms by material/process optimisation based on finite element (FE) simulation.

Till 2020, Dr Chen has worked for 1 EPSRC Core Project, 3 EPSRC Feasibility Studies and 5 Innovate UK projects regarding advancements in composites manufacturing. He developed non-standard non-orthogonal constitutive models, built a set of matched-tool forming rigs and a novel diaphragm forming kit at the University of Nottingham. These have already been successfully adopted by UK automotive/aerospace OEMs. Dr Chen has also established a series of optimisation methodologies for different industrial applications. His research has made significant impact on the UK mechanical industry in terms of cost savings and processing time reduction.

Dr Shuai Chen was invited as a Session Chair of "Process modelling" for 21st International Conference on Composite Materials 2017. His research on composites manufacturing was exhibited in Paris with Hexcel at JEC-World 2018. He did give a presentation at the Advanced Engineering Show 2019. Also, he presented at the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub (the "Hub") open days, international conferences (such as ICCM, ECCM, ICMAC, Composites@Manchester Workshop, etc.). Dr Chen was one of the funded researchers from the University of Nottingham on an Innovate UK project called CHASSIS, which has been awarded the Innovation in Design award at the Composites UK Industry Awards 2020.

Recently, Dr Shuai Chen has been granted two feasibility studies from the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub, which are "Simulation of forming 3D curved sandwich panels" (Co-I) and "An innovative approach to manufacturing closed-section composite profiles" (PI), to initiate the worldwide growth of the concept on forming 3D fabric feedstock recognised as a step-changing area in composites manufacturing research. His research is to challenge the boundary of composites manufacturing by fully unlocking the modelling/optimisation capability for development of a next-generation technique, aiming at a significant breakthrough in manufacturing rate. Dr Chen is intended to finally make state-of-the-art composites widely affordable, benefiting full-scale industrial upgrading toward Industry 4.0.

Research Summary

(07/2020-present) EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub (EPSRC CIMComp) Core Project: Design simulation tools and process improvements for NCF preforming, specialised in developing… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

(07/2020-present) EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub (EPSRC CIMComp) Core Project: Design simulation tools and process improvements for NCF preforming, specialised in developing high-fidelity numerical tools for NCF forming simulation and process optimisation

(04/2020-present) Enhanced Characterisation and Simulation Methods for Thermoplastic Overmoulding, Innovate UK (#105799), specialised in modelling the material behaviour under different loading cases for thermoplastic overmoulding panels

Past Research

(04/2019-03/2020) EPSRC CIMComp: An innovative approach to manufacturing closed-section composite profiles, Principal Investigator, specialised in implementing experimental trials of the process to investigate the formability of closed-section composite profiles, to understand the defect modes and its mechanisms, and to identify main factors for process control (Industry partner: GMD)

(08/2018-03/2019) Composite Hybrid Automotive Suspension System Innovative Structures (CHASSIS), Innovate UK (#103362), specialised in simulating the creep behaviour of thermos-plastic composite components for automotive application. (Industry partner: Ford, NCC, AutoTech)

(02/2018-07/2018) EPSRC CIMComp: Simulation of forming 3D curved sandwich panels, Co-Investigator, specialised in developing a multi-scale FE model for sandwich panel forming to accelerate this step change in composite manufacturing (Industry partner: GMD)

(09/2016-02/2018) Thermoplastic Overmoulding for Structural Composite Automotive Application, Innovate UK (#102663), specialised in developing a thermoplastic material model to predict forming behaviour and defects (Industry partners: SG, JLR, AMRC, LMAT, Nifco, Engenuity)

(08/2016-07/2017) Affordable Composites for Lightweight Vehicles (ACLIV), Innovate UK (#132231), specialised in identifying defect mechanism for diaphragm forming process by simulation and conducting process optimisation to determine defect-free manufacturing solutions (Industry partners: Hexcel, Prodrive)

(09/2014-08/2016) Affordable Lightweighting through Pre-form Automation (ALPA), Innovate UK (#101879), specialised in establishing a non-orthogonal constitutive model for NCFs, developing Abaqus user-defined subroutines, experimental validation and forming kit design (Industry partners: McLaren, Hexcel, AMRC, MTC)

(05/2013-08/2014) EPSRC CIMComp Feasibility Study: Modelling forming of multi-ply preforms, specialised in simulation for producing complex 3D multi-ply preforms in a single stamping operation with inter-ply binders (Industry partners: McLaren, ESI)

Composites Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG9 5HR

contact: Prof Nick Warrior