The Next Generation of Composite Materials Programme aims at developing solutions for high performance structural composites with enhanced multifunctional capabilities such as thermal, electrical and fire resistance. The programme is focused on key aspects of material science and engineering including manufacturing, optimisation of material performance (damage tolerance and impact resistance), material characterisation at different length scales (nanoindentation, X-ray tomography) and development of modelling tools for both virtual processing and virtual testing. Manufacturing of composites by injection/infusion/pultrusion or prepreg consolidation is assisted by advanced sensors that support the use of smart manufacturing techniques toward process optimisation. Multiscale physically-based simulation tools are envisaged to predict the mechanical performance of structural composites as a function of their structure allowing a significant reduction of costly experimental campaigns. The main research lines of the programme are shown below.
Processing of high performance composites
- Optimisation of out-of-autoclave processing (injection/infusion/pultrusion or prepreg consolidation) and other manufacturing strategies (semicured products).Hot-forming. Non-conventional curing strategies.
- Smart manufacturing processes based on advanced simulations and sensors.
Recycling and repair of structural composites
- Green (recyclable) epoxies. Electric current-assisted curing for bondings and repairs. Effect of ageing on composite performance.
New frontiers of structural performance
- High temperature properties. Behaviour under impact. Self-healing, self-sensing and smart materials. Composites with non-conventional lay-up configuration.
Composites with multifunctional capabilities
- Fire resistance. Electrical and thermal conductivity. Energy management. Sensoring. Barrier properties. Non-destructive evaluation and health monitoring.
Micromechanics of composites
- In situ measurement of matrix, fibre and interface properties. Micromechanical based failure criteria. Computational-design of composites with optimised properties (non circular fibres, thin plies, novel fibre architectures, etc.).
Virtual testing of composites
- Multiscale strategies for design and optimisation of composite materials and structures. Behaviour of composite materials and structures under high velocity impact (ice, metallic fragment or blade). Crash-worthiness and failure of composite structures. Effects of defects.
Virtual processing of composites
- Smart manufacturing. Multiphysics models of autoclave and out-of-autoclave curing. Porosity nucleation and growth during curing.
- Structural Composites (Dr. C. González, Programme leader)
- Design & Simulation of Composite Structures (Dr. C. Lópes)
- Multifunctional Nanocomposites (Dr. J. J. Vilatela)
- High Performance Polymer Nanocomposites (Dr. D.-Y. Wang)
- Nanomechanics (Dr. J. M. Molina-Aldareguía)
- In-situ processing and mechanical characterization of materials (Dr. F. Sket)