Research and Development

ACMC undertakes a wide variety of R&D work using a number of funding sources.   Some long-term projects are funded by research councils, UK government or EU sources, while other work is carried out for individual industry clients on a short or medium-term basis.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have been a significant part of our work for many years - these schemes provide financial support for in-company development projects - click here for more information...

Our work includes:

  • laminate and structural component design
  • tooling manufacture
  • prototype and short series production
  • on-site process implementation and monitoring.

Extensive materials and component testing can be incorporated into your programme of work.   This has been a critical element of recent contracts with ACMC.  Click here for a list of the facilities available.

Current and recent projects:

Innovative portable traction ramp from smart composite materials for automatic ascending and descending of wheelchair users
European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Research for SMEs (R4S) project 605838 (2014-2015).
Researcher: Omar Sheikh.  Principal Investigator: Dr Stephen Grove

An innovative environmentally friendly gelcoating technology for composites for marine and wind-turbine applications to reduce VOC emissions, processing time and cost

European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Research for SMEs (R4S) project 286520 (2011-2013).
Researcher: Zoltán Gombos.  Principal Investigator: Dr John Summerscales

Long-term performance of polymer composite structures in wave energy devices
Nigerian Government funding (2011-2012).
Researcher: Daniel Okanigbe.  Supervisor: Dr Stephen Grove

Characterisation of jute natural fibres as reinforcements for composites
Faculty of Technology Scholarship (2007-2010).
Researcher: Amandeep Singh Virk.  Supervisor: Dr John Summerscales

Manufacture and Performance of Wind Turbine Blades
EPSRC CASE Award with Vestas Blades (2006-2009).
Researcher: Richard Cullen. Supervisor:  Dr Stephen Grove

Life Ctycle Assessment (LCA) of Natural Fibre Reinforcements
Self-funded doctoral study (2006-2009).
Researcher: Nilmini Dissanayake.  Supervisor: Dr John Summerscales

ALCAS (Advanced Low-Cost Aircraft Structures)
EU Framework VI (2005-2009) Training and dissemination strand
Co-ordinator: Dr Stephen Grove

In-Mould Gel Coating (IMGC)
DTI Zero Emissions Enterprise Programme (2006-2008).
Researcher: Christopher Hoppins.  Supervisor: Dr John Summerscales

Production of Off-Axis Thermoplastic Composite Prepreg
DTI Advanced Technology Programme (2005-2007).
Partners:  IMT, QinetiQ, Pultrex, EPM Technology, St-Gobain Vetrotex.
Contact: Roger Ford at IMT.  Supervisor: Dr Stephen Grove

CAD implementation for boatbuilders
DTI/KTP scheme (2004-2007).
Researcher: Rupert Lorraine.  Dr Stephen Grove

Characterisation of Glass Preforms for RTM
EPSRC CASE Award with Plastech Thermoset Tectonics (2004-2007).
Researcher: Ross Pomeroy.  Principal Supervisor: Dr Stephen Grove.


Research Projects:

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Process design and optimisation for NEG Micon Rotors (now Vestas Blades (UK)).  ACMC has worked closely with the company in the process design and optimisation of a novel resin infusion technique which leads to considerable reductions in production time for very large (40-60 m) blades. - more...

Low cost composite structures for aerospace - with GKN Westland - more...

Novel speed of sound sensor for Valeport, using carbon/epoxy pultrusions - more...

Developments in CAD and manufacture for boat building - more...

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Manufacture of innovative rowing catamaran.  Resin infusion was used to produce twin glass/epoxy hulls.  Each hull was manufactured in two halves, then bonded with internal bulkheads.

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Carbon/epoxy bike frame.  For several years, ACMC worked in close partership with Metron, suppliers of composite frames to international sprint cycling teams at World Championship and Olympic level.   Manufacturing processes developed from foam core/prepreg/vacuum bag to hollow matched mould.

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Carbon-epoxy kneebrace for Smith & Nephew.  The product was originally vacuum-bag/autoclave moulded from prepreg, and required considerable hand finishing in addition to a lengthy cure cycle.   ACMC demonstrated considerable savings for the client through an RTM prototype, using a foam core and a braided carbon reinforcement in a novel adjustable tool.

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Lightweight composite chassis, manufactured from 'cut and fold' honeycomb sandwich panel.   The project demonstrated significant cost and performance benefits for low volume production.   A paper on its design and construction was presented at at ISATA 1997 - download a copy in pdf format.