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6 Feasibility Studies Announced by the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub

Published: 17th October 2017

The EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Hub (The Hub) has announced the funding of six new feasibility studies, following the call for proposals issued in May 2017.

Each award of £50,000 will typically fund a six month project, expanding the national research effort for composites manufacturing in the UK. Proposals were invited from UK academic researchers for projects that addressed fundamental, step-changing research in five key composites manufacturing areas, which were identified in conjunction with the Composites Leadership Forum: High-rate deposition and rapid processing technologies; design for manufacture via validated simulation; multifunctional composites and integrated structures; inspection and in-process evaluation; and recycling and re-use.

The call received 56 proposals from 25 academic institutions across the UK. Awarded funding will support new research projects at two existing Hub institutions and will welcome three new Spoke members at the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

Titles of the successful feasibility studies chosen for funding are:

  • ‘Can a composite forming limit diagram be constructed?’, Dr Michael Sutcliffe, University of Cambridge
  • Multi-Step Thermoforming of Multi-Cavity, Multi-Axial Advanced Thermoplastic Composite Parts, Dr Philip Harrison, University of Glasgow
  • Layer by layer curing, Dr Alex Skordos, Cranfield University
  • Simulation of forming 3D curved sandwich panels, Professor Nick Warrior, University of Nottingham
  • Manufacturing Thermoplastic Fibre Metal Laminates by the InSitu Polymerisation Route, Dr Dipa Roy, University of Edinburgh
  • Active control of the RTM process under uncertainty using fast algorithms, Professor Michael Tretyakov, University of Nottingham

Proposals were reviewed by a panel of independent industrial and scientific experts, who followed the EPSRC standard peer review panel guidelines on confidentiality and conflicts of interest. The process was overseen by Dr Tracy Hanlon, EPSRC Senior Portfolio Manager, Manufacturing the Future. Reviewers were:

  • Professor Remko Akkerman, University of Twente
  • Dr Rob Backhouse, Rolls-Royce
  • Dr Enrique Garcia, National Composites Centre
  • Brett Hemingway, BAE Systems
  • Dr Warren Hepples, Luxfer
  • Professor Mike Hinton, HVMC
  • Professor Ian Kinloch, University of Manchester
  • Professor Véronique Michaud, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
  • Andrew Mills, Cranfield University
  • Andy Smith, Gordon Murray Design
  • Tim Wybrow, Solvay

The Hub employs a flexible funding model to ensure research responds to opportunities highlighted by technology road mapping, industry needs, or the National Composites Strategy, as defined by the Composites Leadership Forum. These 6 new Feasibility Studies are an opportunity to investigate risky and ambitious ideas, which may lead to major collaborative Hub Core Projects if feasibility is demonstrated, which are typically 3 years in length and involve two universities and industrial partners.

Funding is available for up to 2 more feasibility studies this year in two distinct areas; 1) Recycling and Waste Reduction and 2) Microwave Processing. These have been prioritised by the Hub’s Advisory Board to balance the current research portfolio, taking into account projects funded in the previous round. A new call will be announced shortly via the EPSRC website.

More information about all new projects will be posted on the Hub website as they progress.

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