CIMComp is comprised of four leading research groups working on composites manufacturing in the UK. These are:
- The University of Nottingham
- The University of Bristol
- Cranfield University
- The University of Manchester
The University of Nottingham Polymer Composites Research Group, comprising 12 academic staff and 35 researchers is one of the leading UK composites research groups. Nottingham have worked for over 25 years on composites manufacturing, including pioneering work on out-of-autoclave processing, automated reinforcement deposition, process modelling and recycling. Current activities relate to the automotive, aerospace, medical and wind energy sectors. The team comprises Professor Andrew Long, (Centre Director), Professor Nick Warrior and Dr Richard Brooks from the Division of Materials, Mechanics and Structures.
The University of Bristol’s Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) brings together activities in composites across all fields from aerospace to medical and civil engineering. Recent and current programmes include the Rolls-Royce Composites University Technology Centre (£4.4million), the Vestas Strategic Partnership on design and manufacture of composite wind turbine blades (£1.1million), EPSRC-GE Aviation University Technology Strategic Partnership (£1.3million), a key element of which is low cost manufacturing, the £2.7million ELRIPS programme, coordinating work at the Universities of Bristol, Imperial, and Cranfield together with six industrial partners; and the EPSRC ACCIS Advanced Composites Doctoral Training Centre (£7.1million), plus many other EPSRC, TSB and industrial grants (eg. EP/G015848/1, EP/DO3423X/1, EP/H026371/1 EP/G003599/1). The University of Bristol and industrial partners led the establishment of the National Composites Centre.
The Cranfield Composites Manufacturing Group, within the Enhanced Structures and Composites Centre investigates and develops novel materials and processing technology for lightweight structures with close partnership with carbon fibre composites suppliers, UK aerospace and niche automotive companies. Set up in the 1990’s to lead Airbus UK affordable composite wing project AMCAPS, it pioneered the development and processing of carbon fibre multi-axial fabrics, now applied in the Airbus A380.
Through the Energy Technologies Institute, novel lightweight wind turbines have been designed and an experimental 10m length vertical axis machine has been recently been built for installation at theUniversity.
The most recent aerospace focus has been low cost carbon fibre composite unmanned aircraft struture for the BAE SYSTEMS Flaviir project, which received a Chairman’s Silver award and The Engineer magazine aerospace award. The group designed and manufactured a successfully flown experimental aircraft airframe, alongside a future materials technology wing demonstrator. The most recent automotive focus for the group was the design of an Ultralight carbon fibre body for the Nissan UK Infiniti EMERG-E range extending hybrid supercar which was demonstrated at the Geneva motor show and Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The Centre has a renowned process simulation activity and is a partner in the recent and current EU projects; PreCarbi, Advitac and Infucomp. The academic team members are, Andrew Mills, Peter Foote and Alex Skordos.
The North West Composites Centre at the University of Manchester is the leading UK centre for textile composite manufacturing technologies, with expertise in textile design and machinery and state of the art facilities for 2D and 3D weaving, knitting, braiding and non-standard textile formation. Examples of industrial interaction in this field include the £1.6 million TSB project INTERTEXT (TP14/HVM/6/1/BD515L), which aims to develop a demonstrator textile composite aerospace engine nacelle in collaboration with Aircelle, Sigmatex, Brookhouse, Trelleborg, NWAA and Hyde group.
The Centre also leads on regional support for SMEs to develop products and processes, and has state of the art facilities for test and evaluation of composites, a key requirement for certified manufacturing processes and products. .
Key programmes include a fundamental study of resin properties for high speed out-of-autoclave curing (EP/E059317/1) and process/property interactions for manufacture of wind turbines (EP/H018662/1).