Each award of £50,000 will typically fund a six-month project, expanding the UK research effort for composites manufacturing. Proposals were invited from UK academic researchers for projects that addressed fundamental, step-changing research in two key composites manufacturing areas: recycling and waste-reduction, and microwave processing. These areas were prioritised by the Hub’s Advisory Board to balance the current research portfolio, taking into account projects funded in the previous round.
The call received 16 proposals from 12 academic institutions across the UK. Awarded funding will welcome a new Spoke Member to the Hub at Brunel University. Titles of the studies chosen for funding are:
- Microwave (MW) Heating Through Embedded Slotted Coaxial Cables for Composites Manufacturing (M-Cable), Dr Mihalis Kazilas, Brunel University; and
- Acceleration of Monomer Transfer Moulding using Microwaves, Professor Derek Irvine, 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. Reviewers were: Professor Mike Hinton, HVMC; Dr Rob Backhouse, Rolls-Royce; Dr Enrique Garcia, National Composites Centre; Brett Hemingway, BAE Systems; and Professor Ian Kinloch, University of Manchester.
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 two 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 three years in length and involve two universities and industrial partners.
Further information about all new projects will be posted on the Hub website as they progress.
The EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub was launched in January 2017 and is a £10.3 million investment to expand the national research effort towards delivering a step change in the production of polymer matrix composites, whilst training the next generation of composite engineers. The Hub builds on the solid foundations of CIMComp, the previously funded EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites, which was set up in June 2011 and ran for five years. The Hub aims to become the national centre of excellence in fundamental research for composites manufacturing.