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About the Hub

The Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub is a £10.3m investment by the EPSRC to engage academics from across the UK to deliver a step-change in the production of polymer matrix composites.

The Hub is led by the University of Nottingham and the University of Bristol and includes 16 Spokes: Brunel University London, Cranfield University, Imperial College London, Ulster University, the University of Bath, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, the University of Manchester, the University of Sheffield, the University of Southampton, the University of Warwick, Wrexham Glyndwr University and Queen Mary, University of London.

The Hub is supported by 4 High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres and backed by 18 leading companies from the composites sector, offering a further £12.7m in additional support.

Building on the success of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites (CIMComp), the Hub will drive the development of automated manufacturing technologies that deliver components and structures for demanding applications, particularly in the aerospace, transportation, construction and energy sectors.

Over a seven-year period, the Hub will underpin the growth potential of the sector, by developing the underlying processing science and technology to enable Moore’s law for composites: a doubling in production capability every two years.

To achieve our vision we have identified five research priority areas, in collaboration with industry partners and the Composites Leadership Forum:

  1. High rate deposition and rapid processing technologies
  2. Design for manufacture via validated simulation
  3. Manufacturing for multifunctional composites and integrated structures
  4. Inspection and in-process evaluation
  5. Recycling and re-use

In order to match these priorities with UK capability, we have identified the following Grand Challenges, around which we will conduct a series of projects:

  • Enhance process robustness via understanding of process science to deliver and accelerate growth
  • Develop high rate processing technologies for high quality structures to develop new technologies and diversify into emerging sectors

To mitigate against technical risk, each project will start with a 6 month Feasibility Study, which, if successful, will lead to a full Core Research Project, typically lasting for 3 years.

Following a review of the Hub research portfolio, 8 Workstreams have been established to focus the research programme more effectively towards achieving our Grand Challenges. Over 30 projects have been funded by the Hub to date and these Workstreams are being used to improve the synergy between the smaller investments and the large Core Projects:

  • WS1: Automated Fibre Deposition Technologies
  • WS2: Optimisation of Fabric Architectures
  • WS3: Multifunctional Structural composites
  • WS4: Online Consolidation
  • WS5: Liquid Moulding Technologies
  • WS6: Composite Forming Technologies
  • WS7: Microwave Processing Technologies
  • WS8: Thermoplastic Processing Technologies

Calls for proposals are open to all UK academic institutions and are advertised widely via our website, EPSRC, and major composites newsletters.

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