News & Events

  • NextCOMP at Digimakers event

    NextCOMP at Digimakers!

    NextCOMP team members Cameron Woodgate, Dr Bohao Zhang, and Jo Gildersleve thoroughly enjoyed being part of "Digimakers" on Saturday 11th February 2023. A free, technology-based day-long workshop event created and delivered by Engineering students and staff from University of Bristol, Digimakers is aimed at children aged 8-13, parents, carers and educators. The event took place at the Trinity Centre and the NextCOMP team were delighted to chat throughout the day with lots of enthusiastic children and parents all about composite materials, answering their fantastic questions, showing some of the computer modelling aspects of the project and some of the ways our work is inspired by nature. Our NextCOMP Crusher activity was really popular with parents and children alike who enjoyed making, testing and breaking their own composite materials using jelly and pasta! Huge thanks for the fantastic organisation of the event by University of Bristol School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Engineering Maths (SCEEM) outreach colleagues a really great day which we thoroughly enjoyed!

    For more details visit Digimakers.

  • NextCOMP's Nic and National Composites Centre

    Settling in: Nicolas Darras

    Since starting on NextCOMP in October 2022 our new PhD student Nicolas Darras based in Bristol, (pictured above with Dr Laura Rhian Pickard from his supervisory team) has been a regular visitor to use the state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at our partner National Composites Centre (NCC). So far, Nic has been gaining valuable experience learning the ropes and manufacturing composite struts using a novel resin injection methodology. The ongoing collaboration with the NCC team is really adding value to his initial experimental research and we are looking forward to sharing more as his PhD progresses.

  • News article on 8th International PaCE X-mas Symposium 2023

    NextCOMP at 8th International PaCE X-mas Symposium

    Professor Milo Shaffer and Dr David Anthony were delighted to be invited to speak the 8th International Polymer & Composites Engineering (PaCE) Group X-mas Symposium in Vienna which was on the 21th December 2022, and hosted by Professor Alexander Bismarck. It was a great day full of diverse and interesting talks, with Milo discussing “Nanocarbon reduction: Versatile chemistry, assembly and application” and David discussing “Improving fibre-reinforced composites in compression with hierarchical continuous 3D reinforcement”.

    For more details on our collaborators at PaCE follow them on Twitter @IMCRUnivie and they are members of the Institute of Materials Chemistry & Research, are based at the University of Vienna.

  • NextCOMP's Prof Richard Trask contributed to Second Composite World Article

    Photo: Credit Getty Images

    Designing for biomimetic composites with Prof Richard Trask

    We are delighted to announce the release of the follow up article Drawing design cues from nature: Designing for biomimetic composites, Part 2 by Grace Nehls, in Composites World which Professor Richard Trask contributed towards. Read all about composite processing and the manufacturing of composites and their potential for making bio-inspired structures.

    Composites World\Processes\Filament Winding, published 12th Decemeber 2022

  • Francisca Martínez Hergueta Zoom leacture

    Dr Francisca Martínez Hergueta "Impact Response of Automated Fibre Placement Advanced Placed Ply composites: An Experimental and Numerical Study"

    = Video will be uploaded shortly =

    Abstract: Low velocity impact tolerance is a major concern in the design of critical aerospace structures. Conventional composites consisting of laminated unidirectional plies possess poor impact tolerance, due to the propensity of their constituent plies to delaminate when subjected to dynamic out-of-plane loading. The resultant damage can significantly affect the residual strength of a composite. Alternative laminate architectures, e.g. 3D-wovens, non-crimp fabrics, and z-pinned composites, contain through thickness reinforcements which improve their out-of-plane response. However, the fiber crimp and fiber breakage introduced during the manufacture of these composites negatively impact their undamaged in-plane mechanical properties. A novel preform method known as Advanced Placed Ply preforming (AP-PLY) makes use of Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) technology to produce quasi-woven composites. AP-PLY laminates are more impact tolerant than conventional angle-ply composites, but retain the latter's excellent in-plane strength and stiffness.

    We would like to thank Francisca once more for the lecture given on 2nd November 2022 which was well received by all those who attended. For those unable to join on the day a video will be uploaded once it has been edited.

  • NextCOMP's Prof Richard Trask contributed to Composite World Article

    Photo: Credit Getty Images

    Drawing design cues from nature with Prof Richard Trask

    We are delighted to announce the release of an article Drawing design cues from nature: Designing for biomimetic composites, Part 1 by Grace Nehls, in Composites World which Professor Richard Trask contributed towards. Read all about biomimetic composites and how we are seeking inspiration from nature in the NextCOMP Programme to improve compression performance of composite materials.

    Composites World\Processes\ATL/AFP\Additive Manufacturing, published 19th October 2022

  • Highlights of FUTURES night with the NextCOMP Team

    Composite "Crushing it" at Up late on the SS Great Britain, FUTURES European Researchers Night

    The NextCOMP Team and BCI collaborators enjoyed an extremely fun and busy evening on Friday 30th September 2022 at Up late on the SS Great Britain, one of the events held as part of FUTURES organised by the University of Bristol Public Engagement Team. Despite the weather this was a very well-supported event at the Bristol harbourside and our stand "Crushing it: Be a Composites Engineer" was very popular with visitors of all ages including Brunel and Prof Evelyn Welch, Vice Chancellor. Visitors were eager to watch our DOBOT demonstrations as well as to have the chance to manufacture, test, and inspect their own jelly and pasta composites using the brand new "NextCOMP Crusher". We loved chatting to all the visitors about our research and hearing their thoughts about what we are doing!

  • Professor Russell Varley "From precursor to the composite: How new carbon fibre and its composites will contribute to a more sustainable future"

    The 2022 NextCOMP Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Russell Varley on 3rd August 2022, who is part of the Leadership Team at Carbon Nexus and an invited Academic Partner with NextCOMP. Carbon Nexus works across the entire carbon fibre value chain, from spinning the precursor to producing carbon fibre tow, and of course, the carbon fibre composite. Carbon Nexus' mission is to work at the intersection of academia and industry to better understand the science and engineering of carbon fibre production and to work with industry partners to transition research into reality. This talk introduces the Carbon Nexus research facility and describes in detail the carbon fibre production process from the precursor to the carbon fibre, with specific emphasis upon the requirements for improved compression. Highlights of Carbon Nexus' recent achievements in developing a new generation of carbon fibre and its composite materials is discussed and importantly how they will contribute to creating a more sustainable future.

    We would like to thank Russell once more for the lecture which was well received by all those who attended in-person and virtually.

    The recorded event is available on YouTube (ihprZsUsrww) 54:44 min

  • Luca Lu next to the DOBOT MG400 during his NextCOMP internship at UOB, 2022
  • Harshul Jolly modelling during his NextCOMP internship at UOB, 2022 Luca Lu (left) next to the DOBOT MG400, and Harshul Jolly (right) modelling during their NextCOMP internship at UOB, 2022
  • NextCOMP were delighted to host two summer 2022 interns at University of Bristol with thanks to funding from the Faculty of Engineering Summer Internship Scheme

    Supervised by Dr Laura Pickard, Lucas Lu worked on a project entitled Human Robot Collaboration Layup of Pultruded Rod Based Composites. In this project Lucas explored several methodologies for manufacturing the composites. Prof Nathan Lepora of Bristol Robotics Lab kindly loaned us the DOBOT MG400 which Lucas used to test his manufacturing methodologies.

    Supervised by Dr Gustavo Quino, Harshul Jolly undertook a project entitled Simulation and Practical Testing of Pultruded Systems for Improved Compressive Performance; in which he learned modelling techniques, and simulated different geometric parameters in one of the experimental set ups currently being used for composite compression testing. Harshul also conducted experiments for one of the configurations in the Bristol Composite Institute lab.

    It was a pleasure to host these two fantastic students, both of whom made some really interesting and useful discoveries throughout their internships, with their work having clearly highlighted next steps for future development. They told us that they really enjoyed working on their projects, which they said had enabled them to really accelerate their learning and develop lots of different skills, including, for example writing risk assessments, devising workplans, as well as in improving their presentation skills for their final presentations to the wider NextCOMP Team.

    "It is a truly wonderful experience working with NextCOMP this summer. I have learned a lot!"

    “I strongly believe this project has taught me a lot, and I will most certainly continue to use the lessons I have learned here throughout my career.”

  • NextCOMP Team members at ECCM20

    NextCOMP researchers and Dr Soraia Pimenta at ECCM20

    The NextCOMP Programme was well represented at the 20th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM20) which was held in Lausanne, Switzerland between 26th - 30th June 2022 with talks given by researchers Dr Laura Pickard on “Manufacturing Advances for Pultruded Rod Based Structural Members and Thick Ply Systems” (second on the left), Dr Gustavo Quispe on “Design of a bending experiment for mechanical characterisation of pultruded rods under compression” (second on the right), and Dr Torquato Garulli on “A novel bio-inspired microstructure for progressive compressive failure in multidirectional composite laminates” (right). Posters were given by Dr David Anthony on “Hierarchical solutions to compressive problems in fibre-reinforced composites” (left) and Mr Charles Shaw on “Designing Bicontinuous Silica-Epoxy Nanocomposites” (centre).

    It was a stimulating conference and great to see everyone in person after so long.

    Congratulations to Dr Soraia Pimenta who delivered the Thursday Keynote on "Hierarchical scaling laws for strength, durability and damage tolerance: Applications across the life-cycle" which was well received by all. Soraia was also part of the panel discussion on life cycle analysis (LCA) of carbon fibres which was addressing the conference theme “Composites meet Sustainability”.

  • University of Bristol NextCOMP Team engaging with the public at the Festival of Nature

    Festival of Nature with the NextCOMP Team and Bristol Composites Institute

    Members of the NextCOMP Programme Grant Team and Bristol Composites Institute enjoyed a fantastic day engaging with the public about their composites research as part of the very popular Festival of Nature on Saturday 18th June 2022. The event took place at Barton Hill Microcampus and was a brilliant opportunity for exchanging ideas with families from the local community. Conversations were focused on naturally occurring composites found in seashells, wood, cork, bamboo and living creatures and how these are inspiring future materials development. The composites timeline showed how the use of artificial composites has grown and changed our world through the ages, which prompted great conversations about how we use composites today and what we should use tomorrow. Several interactive activities were included on the stand ranging from hands-on exploration of the different concepts to a paper straw-structure building challenge. Visitors also voted for their favourite "Composite creature" in which the mantis shrimp emerged victorious after a hotly contested battle with the armadillo.

    Thanks to the Festival of Nature and our Public Engagement team at University of Bristol for a thoroughly enjoyable and successful day. We are already planning for our next opportunity to engage with our local communities in the forthcoming months so watch this space!

  • NextCOMP Team with Industrial Partners at the National Composite Centre for the Industry Workshop
  • NextCOMP Team at the Propagation Workshop
  • NextCOMP Industry workshop

    On Tuesday 7th June approx. 40 attendees from industry and academia met at the National Composites Centre (NCC) for the NextCOMP Industry workshop. This was an opportunity for NextCOMP industry partners to engage with the research team to hear about the research and to help define the future NextCOMP research activities.

    Following an introduction and overview of the project by Prof Milo Shaffer, the first session focused on ‘Initiation of compression failure of Unidirectional composite materials’. Prof Richard Trask introduced and discussed the role of ‘damage maps for initiation of compression failure in composites’ followed by a further presentation (on behalf of Dr Soraia Pimenta) on ‘critical parameters for compression strength’. In the second session, Prof Emile Greenhalgh gave an insightful presentation on ‘propagation of compressive failure in multi-directional composite materials’ and the new challenges different stacking sequences present in initiating and containing manufacturing defects and operational damage when loaded in compression. After lunch, the final session focused on Industrial technology requirements, where the attendees were tasked to discuss and feedback on specific questions arising around how the new NextCOMP materials and design concepts could be applied to solve the challenges of today’s composite components.

    The workshop was deemed a success by the NextCOMP team permitting the researchers to showcase their current project results and future ideas whilst also gaining first-hand experience of understanding and interacting with the UK’s leading composite industrial partners. Attendees reported that the workshop was useful and engaging, and an excellent opportunity to collectively debate the key questions and to gain knowledge. When asked what the most valuable aspect of the workshop had been, one industry attendee commented "Discussing the programme with others. Not only does this make a better programme, but I learned a lot."

  • David Presenting at University of Vienna

    NextCOMP researcher Dr David B Anthony invited to speak at the University of Vienna

    Dave visited Prof Alexander Bismarck and Assistant Prof Robert Woodward and the Polymer and Composites Engineering (PaCE) Group at the Institute of Materials Chemistry, University of Vienna on the 5th May 2022, presenting his work on hierarchical fibre synthesis. The work highlighted the close ties between the two universities and the on-going collaboration to increase the production of carbon nanotube-grafted carbon fibres.

  • Charlie Shaw with three other students showing off his poster prize award

    NextCOMP researcher Mr Charles Shaw won the best poster at the Imperial College London Materials Department Postgraduate Day

    Charlie (second from left) was awarded the poster prize on the 28th March 2022 for his work on matrix materials as part of the NextCOMP Team. Congratulations Charlie!

  • NextCOMP researcher Dr Laura Rhian Pickard features in a video series launched by Bristol Composites Institute 7th February 2022

    Laura's film explains how, in NextCOMP, we are taking inspiration from naturally occurring hierarchical composites to design a new generation of composites which will perform better in compression. The video Pressing Matters: Designing the next Generation of Composite Materials is available on YouTube (i20NEQ8luDA) 1:51.

  • NextCOMP Team at the Propagation Workshop

    Propagation of Compressive Failure NextCOMP Workshop

    The Propagation of Compressive Failure Workshop, took place online on the 12th January 2022, the NextCOMP team considered the propagation of damage in compression of continuous fibre reinforced unidirectional composites and the effect of the overall system scale and architecture for these processes. The discussions were stimulating, and the breakout sessions focused around the challenges and how the NextCOMP strategies could tackle these mechanisms.

  • High speed impact imaging set-up at University of Oxford

    Dr Gustavo Quino conducts impact experiments at the University of Oxford

    NextCOMP team member Gustavo visited University of Oxford in February 2022 to undertake experiments which will help us to understand the effects of dynamic loads (impact) upon the mechanical behaviour of matrix materials. During the experiments, an ultra-high-speed imaging system was used to take photos of the deforming specimen at a rate of 500000 frames per second! These photographs will provide detailed information on the strain history during the experiment, which takes place within under 500 microseconds.

  • A stock image of the Bioinicia Fluidnatek LE-500 electrospinning equipment and a test run with NextCOMP materials

    NextCOMP's Cameron Woodgate visits the Henry Royce Institute to learn about state-of-the-art electrospinning

    On the 25th October 2021, NextCOMP PhD researcher Cameron Woodgate went to the Henry Royce Institute in Manchester to see the new facilities & state-of-the-art electrospinning equipment used by Dr Jonny Blaker and his group. During the trip, exchange of electrospinning knowledge, processes, and experimental setups was carried out, along with practical demonstrations of the Bioinicia Fluidnatek LE-500 electrospinning equipment; and discussion of its potential to be utilised to produce novel material systems to be used with fibre reinforced composites in the NextCOMP project.

  • Example of composite failure (one)

    Dr Laura Rhian Pickard delivered a quickfire presentation at the virtual EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub Open Day

    The event held vitually on the 19th October 2021, was attended by ~200 students, academics, and industry representatives, her talk was very well received and served to introduce NextCOMP to the wider Composites Community. The presentation showed how NextCOMP is inspired by the hierarchical structure of natural composites before focusing on pultruded rod based structures.

    CIMComp EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Reseach Hub

    EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub Open Day 19th October 2021

  • Example of composite failure (two)

    NextCOMP Bristol researchers create film for Bristol Composites Institute Annual Conference 2021 to be held on the 9th November 2021

    The NextCOMP University of Bristol team members have created a film giving an overview of the project and some of their research. Attendees of the BCI Annual Conference 2021 will be able to discuss the research with the NextCOMP team at a dedicated interactive session during the event. It is an excellent opportunity for industry and academics to find out more about NextCOMP from our researchers.

    BCI Annual Conference 2021 "Composites for Future Resilience"

    BCI members on "NextCOMP: A full scale redesign for compression" YouTube (H1_vaMl0Mjc) 4:14 min

  • Example of composite failure (one)

    NextCOMP features in BCI new student and staff induction talks

    New students and staff of the Bristol Composites Institute learned about the NextCOMP programme grant in their induction talks in late September 2021. University of Bristol NextCOMP Principal Investigator Professor Richard Trask talked about the research areas NextCOMP focuses on and other NextCOMP team members gave presentations to the new cohort with space at the end for questions.

  • NextCOMP Team at the Initiation Workshop

    Initiation of Damage NextCOMP Workshop

    The Initiation of Damage Workshop, took place online on the 10th September 2021, and provided a framework for the NextCOMP team to explore and discuss different ideas and concepts surrounding the initiation of damage in compression of continuous fibre reinforced unidirectional composites. Interactive breakout discussion groups focused first around N. A. Fleck's damage mode map (“Compressive Failure of Fiber Composites", in Advances in Applied Mechanics, Vol. 33, No. C, 1997, pp. 43–117) and ultimately led to discussion about research areas and mechanisms to focus on.

  • Professor Veronique Michaud Lecture: Composites for a More Sustainable Future... Tough, Healable, Recyclable?

    The inaugural NextCOMP Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Veronique Michaud on 8th July 2021, who is a member of the External Advisory Board for NextCOMP. She has many years of experience in composites and elevating research ideas into commercial products. The lecture was held virtually with ~70 attendees from around the world, the talk was informative and enjoyed by all with an insightful questions and answers session at the end.

    The recorded event is available on YouTube (yYq4hQwG5AI) 43:45 min