Composites Research Group

Past Projects

We have several ongoing composites research projects, most of which are funded by collaborative research grants, although a few are supported directly by industry. The programme spans design, processing, performance and end-of-life disposal.

Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative - ProPound

Project: ProPound

Principal Investigator: Peter Schubel

Co-Investigator: Nick Warrior

Sector: Aerospace

ProPound unites two cross-sector industry leaders with innovation from academia and the composites industry to drive down manufacturing cost, energy usage and process time in the production of lightweight high-end out-of-autoclave infused thermoset carbon composite products. Partners will develop a UK wide supply chain capability which is not currently available in the UK for use in performance vehicles and aircraft nacelles, both products which require surface precision for aerodynamic performance and the highest quality aesthetic finish.

A common challenge both sectors face is the use of traditional high energy, technology processes which trade lightweight material for increased weight in favour of reduced unit cost; ProPound innovation replaces production methods which are multi-step, high labour content and process intensive. The project team combines aerospace and automotive capability and knowledge with innovative methods of carbon fibre placement, in low-cost textile fabrics and high-temperature moulding which will produce lighter components at a higher production volume and rate with spill-over technology use in marine and rail.


Platform Grant: Processing and performance of textile composites

Our current research portfolio is centred on the processing of polymer matrix composites with a growing emphasis on modelling and simulation. Given our high level of interest in textile-based composites and their growing importance in the field, we wish to introduce a common platform for our modelling studies based on our formalised textile generator. Textile modelling provides a launchpad for downstream simulation of processing, damage mechanics and environmental performance. The functionality of our existing textile generator software (TexGen) will be extended, coupled to materials models for simulation of each of the above aspects of physical behaviour. This will enable a rapid understanding of fabric architecture effects to be built and the approach has excellent potential for application to other physical problems which relate to rigid and flexible composites or technical textiles. The platform grant underpins this work, and provides support for key workers during the period of this development.

The broad objectives of this are to:

  • Implement an approach based on textile modelling throughout our research portfolio, integrating the multiple streams of processing, energy management, biomedical applications and textile modelling;
  • Develop a series of downstream models relating to: three-dimensional permeability, formability (including shear compliance), static mechanical properties, damage mechanics and residual property estimation, diffusion and environmental degradation;
  • Exploit the potential of the platform grant to raise our international profile, develop strategic links with other leading groups, and enhance our technology transfer activities.

Funding body: EPSRC (GR/T18578/01)

Research grant: £445k – C D Rudd, A C Long, R Brooks, I A Jones, S J Pickering, N A Warrior, M J Clifford, M S Johnson C A Scotchford, G A Walker


UV curing of textile composites (CURE-TEX)

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme (TP/2/MS/6/I/10062)

Partners: Pera, Uvasol, Composite Integration, VT Halmatic, Ciba, Formax, BI Composites, Litetec

Research grant: £150k (total project value £1,050k) – A C Long, M S Johnson


High value composite materials from recycled carbon fibre (HIRECAR)

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme (TP/2/MS/6/I/10062)

Partners: Pera, Uvasol, Composite Integration, VT Halmatic, Ciba, Formax, BI Composites, Litetec

Research grant: £150k (total project value £1,050k) – A C Long, M S Johnso


High value composite materials from recycled carbon fibre (HIRECAR)

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme

Partners: Advanced Composites Group, Ford Motor Company, Technical Fibre Products, Toho Tenax

Research grant: £333k (total project value £927k) – N A Warrior, S J Pickering, E Lester


Development of novel anti-slash technical textiles

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme (TP/3/SMS/6/I/16992)

Partners: Cunningham Covers, Monarch, JD Wilkie, Montgomery, William Clark & Sons, Soltex, Pera

Research grant: £ 220k (total project value £1,412k) – A C Lon


Fatigue, damping and impact properties of textile composites

Funding body: EPSRC (EP/C538137/1)

Partners: Dowty Propellers, Rolls Royce, J R Technology Ltd, Cambridge University, Cranfield University, Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Research grant: £ 168k - I A Jones, A C Long, N A Warrior

Project page on the EPSRC website.


Simulation & modelling of 3D woven fabrics for structural composites (3DSimComs)

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme (TP/3/DSM/6/I/16666)

Partners: Rolls Royce, Advanced Composites Group, BAE Systems, Deepsea Engineering, Dowty Propellers, Sigmatex, Bristol University, Ulster University

Research grant: £ 189k (total project value £1,850k) – N A Warrior, A C Long, I A Jone


Fibre reinforced healthcare

We focus mainly on linear aliphatic polyesters such as polycaprolactone because of their well known biocompatability and their interesting resorption characteristics. Here we use our broad experience of polymer processing to develop an effective method of in-situ polymerisation. We inject a reaction mixture around a bed of fibres to produce a composite material which is stronger and stiffer than the polymer on its own.

Fibre technology is a critical aspect of our work. High modulus fibres are needed to stiffen polymers to a level which approaches that of the bone they are intended to replace. We concentrate mainly on phosphate glasses. These can be doped with a variety of metals to control their properties and dissolve in aqueous environments in a predictable way. We produce our own fibres and are generating an increasing rich set of data that describe their physical, chemical and biological responses.

Funding body: EPSRC via NIMRC (EP/E001904/1)

Partners: University of Leeds, EPFL, Smith and Nephew1, UCL

Research grant : £477k - C D Rudd, I A Jones, G S Walker, C A Scotchford


Multi-scale integrated modelling for high performance flexible materials

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme (TP/5/MAT/6/I/H0558C)

Partners: Unilever, OCF, Croda, Scotweave, Remploy, Carrington Career & Workwear, Hield Brothers, Airbag International, Technitex Faraday, University of Manchester, Heriot-Watt University

Research grant: £318k (total project value £1,703k) - M J Clifford, A C Long, H Lin


Analysis and modelling of advanced preform processing (AMAPP)

Funding body: EPSRC via NIMRC (EP/E001904/1)

Partners: Airbus UK, BAE Systems, Bentley Motors, Carr Reinforcements, Dowty Propellers, ESI Software, Rolls Royce

Research grant: £495k – A C Long


Warpage compensation in composite laminate manufacture (WILMA)

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme (TP/5/MAT/6/I/H0473F)

Partners: FEA Ltd, Advanced Composites Group, BAE Systems, Bombardier Aerospace UK

Research grant: £242k (total project value £2,256k) – I A Jones, A C Long


Carbon fibre recycling – materials and product development

Funding body: Boeing Corporation.

Research Grant: $260k – S J Pickering, N A Warrior


Damage modelling to develop novel hybrid structures/materials comprising textile composites and shock absorbing layers

Funding body: EPSRC via NIMRC (EP/E001904/1)

Partners: AIGIS Ltd, Carr Reinforcements, St-Gobain Vetrotex, Security Composites

Research grant: £378k – R Brooks


Affordable innovative rapid production of off-shore wind energy rotor-blades (AIRPOWER)

Funding body: DTI Technology Programme

Partners:Insensys Limited, Gamesa Innovation & Technology SLU, BAE Systems, GE Aviation, NaREC, Solent Composite Systems, Hexcel Composites, Magnum Venus, Plastech, Wind Force GmbH, WindSupply

Research grant: £302k (total project value £1,405k) - P J Schubel, N A Warrior

Measurement of Materials Properties

Sponsor: Boeing

Investigator: Davide De Focatiis

Buckling analysis software of Stiffened panel structure
Investigator: Shuguang LiAnalysis of the buckling and post-buckling behaviour of stiffened composite panels with and without impact damage.
Biaxial Testing

Investigator: Davide De FocatiisA mechanism for biaxial testing of materials using uniaxial testing machinesA novel adaptor for conducting biaxial stress tests using uniaxial testing machinesDavide De Focatiis and Samuel Kelly developed a novel adaptor, with the ability to be retrofitted to existing uniaxial stress machines, enabling an equibiaxial deformation to be applied to a specimen.


Completed projects

  • Design Optimisation of Textile Composite Structures (DOTComp)
  • Design and Processing of Multi-layer Structures for Liquid Composite Moulding (MultiComp)
  • Composite Structures for Pedestrian Safety
  • Thermoplastic Composites Infrastructure Cooperation Network (CORONET)
  • Fabrication methods for energy absorbing structures (MaPEA/FM-CEACS)
  • Recycling of composites
  • Resin Transfer Mouldin

Composites Research Group

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

contact: Prof Nick Warrior