Composites Engineering, within the MAterials and STructures (MAST) research group, is the new name for the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Centre (ACMC).  This leading composites R&D facility at the University of Plymouth is based in the School of Engineering (SoE). The research group is active in a wide range of projects, and aims to bridge the traditional gap between academic R&D and the needs of industry.

ACMC formally opened in 1987, although the University of Plymouth has been involved with composites R&D since the early 1970s.  Since then, we have worked closely with companies in all areas of polymer composites engineering, enabling them to benefit from our research, contacts and experience.  We have many years experience in running short courses and workshops in composites design and manufacture, and we have worked with large and small companies in all sectors of the composites industry in implementing new technology, improving processes, testing materials and components and solving manufacturing and materials problems.

News Click here for the Archive

Congratulations! (30 August 2019)
Matthias Wimmer, a research degree candidate at University of Plymouth Munich Node, had his viva voce examination today and was recommended for the award of PhD subject to minor corrections to the thesis. The thesis title was Development, modelling and analysis of Vacuum Assisted Multipoint Moulding for manufacturing fibre-reinforced plastic composites. The supervisors were Christoph Maurer (in Munich) and Frank Abraham.

Farewell! (31 July 2019)
Two colleagues, Frank Abraham and Sourajyoti (Raj) Basu, have escaped to pursue new careers!

Welcome! (01 July 2019)
Yang Qin has joined the team as a post-doctoral research fellow on the SeaBioComp project.

Open access publication (01 July 2019)
Spiridon Konstantopoulos, Christian Hueber, Ioannis Antoniadis, John Summerscales and Ralf Schledjewski, Liquid Composite Molding reproducibility in real world production of fiber reinforced polymeric composites: a review of challenges and solutions, Advanced Manufacturing: Polymer and Composites Science, accepted 11 June 2019.

Doctoral thesis now online (13 June 2019)
The doctoral thesis, Natural fibre reinforced composite materials, by Aitor Hernandez Michelena is now available for download from PEARL.

Publication in Carbon (Impact Factor 7.082) (21 May 2019)
Mohammed Al-Bahrani and Alistair Cree, A simple criterion to evaluate the degree of damage in composite materials after sudden impact loads by exploiting the MWCNTs piezoresistive property, Carbon, accepted manuscript, available online 21 May 2019.

SAMPE Annual Seminar in Scotland (09 May 2019)
The SAMPE UK & Ireland 2019 Annual Seminar and SME Table Top Exhibition, Sustaining Composites Growth in Adverse Environments, will be held in Edinburgh on Thursday 06 June 2019.

IOM3 Materials World e-zine available to the public (01 May 2019)
The May 2019 issue of Materials World, celebrating the 150th anniversary of IOM3, is available to all as an e-zine here.
IOM3 150th anniversary logo

Doctoral thesis now online (05 April 2019)
The doctoral thesis, The design and manufacture of a glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) bolted flange joint for oil and gas applications, by Muhsin Ali Marie Aljuboury is now available for download from PEARL.

Vacuum Assisted Multipoint Moulding  (04 April 2019)
Matthias Wimmer is a University of Plymouth doctoral candidate based in Munich University of Applied Sciences, supervised by Frank Abraham and locally by Christoph Maurer. The subject of his doctoral studies is the Vacuum Assisted Multipoint Moulding (VAMM: a form flexible tooling system for the production of curved CFRP parts) system which is featured in this video.

InterReg SeaBioComp Research Fellow (27 March 2019)
We have an opportunity for a full-time fixed-term researcher to join the Interreg SeaBioComp project.  The deadline for applications is 14 April 2019.

Supergen Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Hub  (27 March 2019)
The Supergen ORE Hub website in now live!

Free download (18 March 2019)
Sage Publications are now hosting Advanced Composites Letters, and have made all content available for free download.  The Plymouth papers are:

Tensile strength of banana peel fibres (07 March 2019)
Following an internship, a paper entitled Evaluation of Tensile Strength of Fibers Extracted from Banana Peels by Achille Ferrante, Carlo Santulli and John Summerscales has been published online today in Journal of Natural Fibers.  The first fifty people to click the link should be able to access a free eprint!

InterReg 2 Seas SeaBioComp (28 January 2019)
The 2 Seas Monitoring Committee has approved the SeaBioComp project.  The main aim of the Plymouth involvement will be to develop in-situ polymerisation during resin infusion as a route to (bio-based) thermoplastic matrix (recyclable) composites for marine use.

EuroMech Colloquium 607: Marine Aging of Polymers (21 December 2018)
This colloquium will be held in Brest ~ France during 28-29 August 2019.  The call for papers is now open with a deadline of Saturday 16 February 2018.  The aim is to achieve a balance across four topics: (i) polymers and elastomers, (ii) foams and syntactic foams, (iii) polymer fibres, and (iv) fibre reinforced polymers.

NCC investing £36.7M in 10 new technologies (10 December 2018)
The National Composites Centre is investing £36.7M in 10 new technologies:
more information

Limited-time access to recent publication (19 October 2010)
The final version of "Enhanced rules-of-mixture for natural fibre reinforced polymer matrix (NFRP) composites" is now available online.  Anyone clicking on [link expired on 06 December 2018] will be taken directly to the final version of the article on ScienceDirect, which they are welcome to read or download.  No sign up, registration or fees are required.

Congratulations! (19 October 2018)
Aitor Hernandez Michelena successfully defended his doctoral thesis, Effect of fibre treatment on the properties of natural fibre reinforced polymer composites, today.  Subject to some minor corrections to the thesis, the degree should be awarded in due course.

Marine Composites: Design and Performance (20 August 2018)
This new book, edited by Richard Pemberton, John Summerscales and Jasper Graham-Jones, will be published by Elsevier on 03 September 2018.
[PS 28 August 2018: now available on ScienceDirect].

Welcome (16 July 2018)
Dr Maozhou (Leo) Meng has today joined the team as a Lecturer.  Leo graduated from Plymouth as Doctor of Philosophy for a thesis on Fatigue failure of fibre reinforced plastics for marine environment in 2016, and has been PDRA ar University of Derby in the intervening period.

4th International Conference on Natural Fibers (ICNF2019) (11 July 2017)
The 4th International Conference on Natural Fibers - Smart Sustainable Solutions will be held in Porto ~ Portugal during 01 -03 July 2019.  John Summerscales is a member of the scientific committee.

PhD completion (04 July 2018)
Hossein Mohammad Khanlou has submitted the final version of his doctoral thesis Degradation of flax PLA biocomposites during and after manufacture at Griffith University in Australia.  The thesis was supervised by Wayne Hall and Peter Woodfield in Australia and by John Summerscales.

Composite Materials and Structures for Engineering Students (03 July 2018)
Our former colleague, Stephen Grove, has published a book with the above title which is available via Amazon.

Marine aging of polymers (24 June 2018)
Peter Davies (IFREMER) and John Summerscales have received approval to organise EUROMECH Colloquium 607 "Marine aging of polymers".  This series of prestigious events is hosted by the European Mechanics Society. The meeting will be held in Brest ~ France during 26-30 August 2019.

TEF Silver (06 May 2018)
The University is delighted to announce that it has today been awarded a TEF (Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework) Silver by the Office for Students. The TEF is a government assessment of the quality of undergraduate teaching and learning in universities and other higher education providers in England.

ACMC becomes Composites Engineering (01 May 2018)
The University of Plymouth has reverted to trading under the name of the legal entity.  Coincident with that change, after just over 30 years as Advanced Composites Manufacturing Centre, ACMC is in transition to Composites Engineering to reflect diversification of interests.

Composite Materials Discovery Room (13 April 2018)
Marine-i will host a Discovery Room event: Composite materials - sector challenges and opportunities for innovation in St Austell on Monday 30 April 2018.  This free-to-attend event will follow three themes: sector opportunities, regional expertise and end of life/recyclability of materials.  More information.

Welcome (01 April 2018)
Two new research degree candidates joined the team today: Ben Bryant and Casper Kruger.

PhD studentship: Self-Sensing and Energy-Harvesting (SSEH)
Composite Materials for Coastal Infrastructure
(26 March 2018)
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 01 October 2018.  Further details can be found on the university website and at jobs.ac.uk.  Closing date is 09 April 2018.

Welcome (22 January 2018)
Colin Hague has joined the team as the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate on the Mobile Quick Cure Repair (MQCR) project with Alan Harper Composites Limited.  Achille Ferrante from L'Università degli Studi di Camerino ~ Italy will be with us for 13 weeks as an Erasmus+ intern.

Career opportunity (04 January 2018)
The School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth is currently advertising for a Lecturer/Associate Professor/Professor in Mechanical Engineering.  For more information see Current Plymouth University vacancies with job reference A5746.  The closing date for applications is 08 February 2018.

Composites curriculum development in China (11 December 2017)
John Summerscales presented “Education and curriculum design for composites in the UK” to an Education and Training Committee (E&TC) set up during the 3rd China International Congress on Composite Materials (CCCM-3) in Hangzhou in October 2017.  JS has now been invited by the committee chairman to become a member of the E&TC. “The main task of this committee is to discuss the issue of the Discipline Construction [curriculum development] in China Composite Materials and Engineering. The main topics include Construction of Teaching material, Teaching Reform and Teaching quality assessment standard, etc. Members of the committee are well-known experts and professors who major in advanced composite materials in China”.

Composites curriculum development (05 December 2017)
John Summerscales and Jasper Graham-Jones are co-investigators on a new HEFCE Catalyst Funding project with University of Bristol/National Composites Centre (NCC) to plan together a more sustainable routemap for composites curriculum development.  The project will collaborate with the industrial partners of the NCC (a High Value Manufacturing Catapult hosted by the University of Bristol), to fund the curriculum design and development of innovative master’s level work-based learning in composites design and manufacturing.

KTP Associate - Composites Development Engineer
(University of Plymouth with Alan Harper Composites) (20 November 2017)
We are seeking a talented Mechanical Engineer, Composites Engineer or Material Scientist or similar with significant composites experience to work on a joint project under Knowledge Transfer Partnership, between Alan Harper Composites and the University of Plymouth. The key objective of this role is to develop and commercialise a range of innovative composite repair kit solutions that are quick, simple and safe to use in a variety of environments.  More information.

Two conference papers now published in open access journal (10 October 2017)

Two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships awarded (29 September 2017)
Richard Pemberton and Roberto Fraquelli have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Red Paddle.
John Summerscales and Richard Cullen have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Alan Harper Composites Limited.
Further information will be released when the recruitment details have been finalised.

Stephen Grove (27 September 2017)
Dr Stephen Grove has today retired from his full-time post as Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer), after over thirty years at the university.  We wish him well in his retirement, although he will return as a (part-time) Associate Lecturer.

Degree Apprenticeships (13 September 2017)
The University of Plymouth now offers two Degree Apprenticeships:

specifically designed to help upskill current workforce, with an aim to integrate academic learning at undergraduate degree level with practical application in the workplace.  To talk to someone about our Degree Apprenticeship offerings, please ask them to get in touch with the Enterprise Solutions Service or call 0800 052 5600.

Welcome (01 September 2017)
Dr Sung-Hwan Jang has joined the team as Lecturer in Civil Engineering.  He was formerly with Delft University of Technology.

Richard Pitwon PhD (23 August 2017)
Richard Pitwon's PhD thesis is now available on the Plymouth Electronic Archive and Research Library (PEARL): Pluggable optical connector interfaces for electro-optical circuit boards.  The research was supervised by Jasper Graham-Jones, Alistair Cree and John Summerscales.

Promotion (01 August 2017)
John Summerscales is now Professor of Composites Engineering.

The Vlad Zamoroskii MPhil thesis is now available on PEARL (26 May 2017):
Vlad Zamoroskii's MPhil thesis is now available on the Plymouth Electronic Archive and Research Library (PEARL): Composite materials filled with ferromagnetic microwire inclusions demonstrating microwave response to temperature and tensile stress. The research was supervised by John Summerscales, Dmitriy Makhnovskiy (SoCM) and Mansel Davies (SoCM).

Welcome (11 April 2017)
Ewen Le Roux and Yves Henry from The University of Western Brittany (Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UBO Brest) have joined the team for a two month internship hosted by Richard Cullen and Richard Pemberton.

Richard Pitwon PhD (31 March 2017)
Richard Pitwon had his viva voce examination today for a PhD with the title "Pluggable optical connector interfaces for electro-optical circuit boards".  The outcome was Pass subject to minor corrections.  Congratulations!

Vlad Zamoroskii MPhil (29 March 2017):
Graduate School have confirmed that Vlad Zamoroskii may now be awarded Master of Philosophy, subject to depositing the final version of the e-thesis on PEARL.  The thesis title is “Composite materials filled with ferromagnetic microwire inclusions demonstrating microwave response to temperature and tensile stress”. The research was supervised by John Summerscales, Dmitriy Makhnovskiy (SoCM) and Mansel Davies (SoCM).

Career opportunity (22 March 2017)
The School of Engineering at Plymouth University is currently advertising for a Lecturer/Associate Professor/Professor in Mechanical Engineering.  For more information see Current Plymouth University vacancies with job reference A5289.  The closing date for applications is 13 April 2017.

Welcome (20 March 2017)
Guillaume Kerhino from The University of Southern Brittany (Université de Bretagne Sud ~ Lorient) has joined the team for a ten week intership hosted by John Summerscales.

Pedagogic Research and Teaching Innovation (PRTI) project (18 March 2017)
Asiya Khan, Richard Pemberton and Priska Schoenborn have been awarded £6500 for a project to study “Delivering Impact via Student Research: Sharing Best Practice”.

Keynote speech (17 March 2017)
John Summerscales has been invited to present a Keynote Speech, Allocation in the life cycle assessment (LCA) of flax fibres for the reinforcement of composites, at the 6th International Conference on Innovative Natural Fibre Composites for Industrial Applications (ICINFCIA) in Rome during 05-06 October 2017.

Keynote lecture (16 March 2017)
John Summerscales has been invited to present a Keynote Lecture at the Sixth International Conference on Recent Advances in Composite Materials (ICRACM-2019) in Varanasi - India during 25-28 February 2019.  The conference will celebrate the Centenary Year of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and of the Indian Institute of Technology/Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi.

ICCM21 Track 6.2 Processing-manufacturing Techniques (13 January 2017)
Byung Chul Kim (Bristol ACCIS), Gangadhara Prusty (UNSW) and John Summerscales will lead the above Track at the 21st International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM21) to be held in Xi'an (China) during 20-25 August 2017.  Papers are invited which address appropriate issues.  The final extended deadline for submission of abstracts is Wednesday 15 February 2017.


electron micrograph

Working with composites engineering

In the past couple of years we have been concentrating on longer-term projects, and current research funded by the EU, EPSRC and DTI consortia.   We are still able to undertake smaller consultancy projects, and can often help companies find external financial support.    Contact us for further information.

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