The aim of the Novel Materials and Processing stream is to facilitate the development of processes and materials to improve net shape component manufacture and material properties.

Work typically falls into the following themes:

  • Dry-fibre processing
  • Joining
  • Novel materials
  • Simulation
  • Tooling

Dry-fibre processing

We incorporate work on weaving, braiding, non-crimped fabrics (NCF), tow spreading and dry fibre material characterisation, with the ultimate vision of component unitisation – creating single piece structures. Only by understanding preform generation will this be achieved. An additional objective is to target preform automation and reduce tack time required for composite manufacturing.

With the need for high speed and high value manufacturing of composite components, it is expected that 3D near-net-shape preforms will offer significant benefits to a wide range of composite applications particularly in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Joining

We conduct research into the various methodologies for joining components to create assemblies with reduced manufacturing cost, improved joint design and utilisation and reduced qualification cost. Research is mainly focused on; adhesive bonding, co-curing and mechanical joining.

Understanding the effect of such things as the influence of the bonding environment, surface preparation and bond thickness are vital for developing efficient, effective and reliable joining methods.

Novel Materials

Focusing on the development and deployment of novel materials, the AMRC has a record of delivering successful projects on bio-composites, metal matrix composites and core materials.

With an ever-increasing emphasis on economical and sustainable manufacturing, bio-composites are a necessity in today’s engineering considerations.

Our work on bio-composites has already made an impact on the production of bio-derived composites. Previous collaborations with SHD to develop materials and PES Engineering Ltd and TEKS UK for feasibility studies have given the AMRC strong foundations in this research area.

Simulation

The goal of our research in this area is to provide tools to aid decision making with respect to composite manufacturing through the development of process simulation and life-cycle analysis capabilities.

Being a relatively new field, many manufacturing decisions within the composites industry are made based on experience and opinion rather than science and fact. Often, a trial and error approach is used to find a manufacturing solution.

Robust simulation will benefit the field of composites by minimising the use of materials and resources prior to component manufacture.

Tooling

The AMRC are undertaking research to develop tooling that is appropriate for a wide range of applications. The perfect tool would be durable, handle-able, low cost, have high temperature capabilities and a good coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) match with the component material.

The design of a tool can vary depending on its intended use - such as preforming, de-bulking and curing.

The development of ‘intelligent’ tooling – tools with added or increased functionality such as being reconfigurable or integrating sensors to monitor such things as pressure or temperature during cure – is an area of research that has the potential to significantly impact the manufacture of composite components.

For more information, please contact:

compositecentre@amrc.co.uk
0114 222 1747