The novel materials and processing research theme is the most recently established theme within the AMRC Composite Centre.
It incorporates the following sub-themes:
- Dry-fibre processing.
- Process simulation.
- Life-cycle analysis.
With an ever-increasing emphasis on economical and sustainable manufacturing, biocomposites are a necessity in today’s engineering considerations. Furthermore, developing process simulation and life-cycle analysis capabilities can only benefit the composites field by minimising the use of materials resources prior to component manufacture. The composites industry is in its infancy by comparison to the more traditional materials industries and a clear understanding of the dry fibrous materials is necessary to enable a rapid maturity.
Being a relatively new field, many manufacturing decisions within the composites industry are made based on experience and opinion rather than science and fact. The AMRC Composites Centre not only conducts projects whose prime objective is to gain materials characterisation information, we also actively tailor every project to gather data and build the databases that will encourage and aid future manufacturing decisions.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that the optimal manufacturing solution is used every time, ensuring the best mechanical properties with minimal sacrifice of weight. Our databases will aid/feed process simulation and/or life-cycle analysis software, and this will help our partners make sound manufacturing decisions.
Our work on BioComposites has already made an impact on the production of bio-derived composites working in collaboration with SHD to develop materials and PES Engineering Ltd and TEKS UK for feasibility studies.
Also of note
As part of this research theme, we have a new composites weaving loom (delivery mid-June 2014), and we are listening to our partners closely to ensure we tailor its use to match their interests. The intention is that the AMRC will bridge the gap between the relatively new composites industry and the age old weaving industry, and we are actively developing relationships with local weaving SMEs to ensure we manipulate composite weaving to its full potential in the engineering world. Our partners declared an ultimate vision of “Component unitisation – using single piece structures”, and only by understanding preform generation will we be able to achieve this.