Second Call for Feasibility Studies: EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub

The EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub is offering funding for up to two feasibility studies to conduct research at TRL 1 to 3. Proposals are invited in two distinct areas; 1) Recycling and Waste Reduction and 2) Microwave Processing. The feasibility study should examine a subject area that is ambitious and high risk, identifying key challenges and research questions not currently being addressed.

Proposals must offer a fundamental step-change in composites manufacturing, rather than focusing on the development of next-generation materials. Proposals that do not address one of these two areas outlined above will not be funded.

This call is open to all UK academics and is the primary mechanism for new collaborators to engage with the Hub. Awards are limited to £50,000 at 80% FEC, for up to a maximum of six months. Successful applicants are expected to attract significant new industrial support for follow-on funding, which will form a strategic part of future Hub activities. Access to further Hub funding may be released if feasibility is demonstrated, with the potential for the lead institution to become a Spoke member.

Background

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 manufacturing of polymer matrix composites. The Hub is led by the University of Nottingham and the University of Bristol and includes 7 other Spokes; the University of Cambridge, Cranfield University, the University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, the University of Glasgow, the University of Manchester, and the University of Southampton.

The vision for the Hub is to enable Moore's law for composites - a doubling in production capability every two years for high performance polymer composites. Five research priority areas have been identified to realise this, which have been identified in collaboration with industry partners and the broader composites community:

  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 grow the national effort to support future UK composites manufacturing, the Hub has allocated funding for up to two feasibility studies to investigate ambitious, high risk and step-changing ideas, with the possibility for successful applicants to secure follow-on funding for major collaborative Hub Core Project if feasibility is demonstrated. This announcement follows on from a recent call for Feasibility Studies (May 2017), where six new projects were funded, introducing three new Spoke members to the Hub; the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow:

  • '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 In Situ 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

Details of other current Hub projects can be found at the CIMComp website.