News & Events

  • Prof Zheng-Ming Huang lecture Advert
  • Strength formulae of a composite under longitudinal compression

    Prof Zheng-Ming Huang​ (​Tongji University, China​)

    Monday 15th April 2024 at 09:00 to 10:00 BST (UTC +1)

    MS Teams Live Event ID: 773 333 570#

    Abstract: In this talk, I will firstly present an analytical approach to the failures and strengths of a unidirectional (UD) composite under longitudinal compression. Only limited, if not the minimum, input data are required, all of which except for the initial fiber misalignment angle can be measured in advance and following existing standards. The longitudinally dominated load is decomposed into axial, shear and transverse stress components in the misaligned coordinate system. The axial component will cause the fiber to fail whereas the other mainly the shear components will bring the matrix to fail. Whichever occurs the first corresponds to the longitudinal compressive strength. If the fiber’s failure takes place ahead of the matrix’s one, the composite attains the highest compressive strength. Otherwise, a kinking failure is assumed and the compressive strength can be much lower than an expectation. Two issues are critical for achieving the compressive strength evaluation. One is the misalignment angle increment assumed in accordance with the application of the shear component, and the other is the conversion of the homogenized internal stresses of the matrix into the true values. Bridging Model and the matrix true stress theory are the fundamental tools to have achieved the purpose. Then, I will highlight an analyzing procedure for the compressive strength prediction of any fibrous composite. The analysis is begun by subdividing the fibrous composite into a series of slides, each of which contains at most one straight fiber or fiber yarn segment. The latter can be considered as a UD composite in its local coordinate system. The overall true stresses of the fiber and matrix in the fibrous composite are assembled from those of all the slides, based on which the failure detections can be carried out individually for the fiber and matrix. The smallest failure load is defined as the ultimate compressive strength of the fibrous composite.

    Bio: Dr. Zheng-Ming Huang got an MS degree in solid mechanics in 1983 from Huazhong University of Science & Technology in China, and a PhD degree in materials engineering in 1999 from National University of Singapore. He was awarded a Cheung Kong Scholars Professor at Tongji University by the Ministry of Education of China in 2002. He has established a number of unique mechanics theories for composites, including a unified elastic-inelastic constitutive theory – Bridging Model, the matrix true stress theory, the interlaminar matrix stress modification method, and the incremental constitutive model for rubber-like elasticity. Based on these theories, a variety of composite failures including interface debonding and laminate delamination has been efficiently addressed with inputs almost all measurable upon existing standards and with no iteration. He has authored or co-authored more than 210 peer reviewed journal papers, 4 books, 9 book chapters and 18 patents. One of his papers has been cited more than 7100 times in Web of Science.

    We are delighted to announce this talk as part of the Next Generation Fibre-Reinforced Composites (NextCOMP) Invited Virtual Seminar Series, we do hope you can join us on the day. Please note that this lecture will be recorded and attendance approves consent.


  • NextCOMP News

    NextCOMP News

    Welcome to the News, more about composites than the typical day-to-day but full of interesting bits. We try to add bits as they happens so please visit often for the latest information and any up-and-coming guest lectures.


  • Photo of the X-ray imaging centre equipment at University of Southampton

    Iheoma describes a technical journey towards exploring in-situ compression testing at the University of Southampton

    In January 2024 NextCOMP Team Member Dr Iheoma Nwuzor made an exploratory research trip to University of Southampton. Here’s what she had to say about it:

    My visit to the μ-VIS X-ray Imaging Centre, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton was amazing. On arrival at the University, the atmosphere buzzed with the enthusiasm of scientific inquiry. The μ-VIS X-ray Imaging Centre was a marvel in itself. The facility boasted different computed tomography scanning machines of different sizes with an array of compression testing rigs designed for various materials, from traditional alloys to advanced composites equipped with state-of-the-art machinery. They adhere to testing standards, which guarantee the accuracy and reliability of the conducted experiments.

    Having been granted funding via the NCXT (National X-ray Computed Tomography) Free Beamtime Access Scheme funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to utilise the facilities at University of Southampton, the aim of this preliminary visit was to discuss and explore different ideas around a variety of test methodologies for my sample geometry to allow for a successful in situ compression testing campaign. In collaboration with University of Southampton colleagues we discussed the various challenges and benefits and devised a plan for the forthcoming work.

    It was an illuminating and enlightening experience at the University of Southampton which reiterated to me the vital role such facilities play in the advancement of Material Science and Engineering. I am excited for the next stage of our work together!


  • NextCOMP Workshop on fracture toughness photo of the group in action

    NextCOMP Workshop on fracture toughness

    On Wednesday 12th January 2024, approximately 30 academics and researchers from NextCOMP met at Imperial College London for the 5th NextCOMP workshop. Building on the success of previous workshops focusing on Initiation, and Propagation of compressive failure of composites, the Team gathered to explore the significance of measuring the fracture toughness in unidirectional fibre-reinforced unidirectional composites.

    The scene opened with the first session exploring how an experimental and modelling campaign of measuring the fracture toughness aligns with NextCOMP’s primary objective “Improving the compressive strength of unidirectional fibre-reinforced composites”. Following Professor Silvestre Pinho’s insightful talk on interlaminar compression and the challenges around measuring a representative value of interlaminar fracture toughness, the Team openly discussed how experimental and modelling concepts from the proposed pre-workshop reading material could be exploited by NextCOMP.

    Interactive table discussions then followed, the Team was asked to discuss and report on target questions regarding the composite’s failure mode, mode of fracture toughness, and the composite length scale that NextCOMP should be focusing on. In the last session the attendees switched up the tables, this time based on the length scale relevant to their work package which led to stimulating discussions. The tables were grouped as follows: Modelling and Testing, Design of Constituents, and Design of Structures. The table discussions were led by the researchers and the attendees were tasked to select the best concepts, comment on possible challenges, and identify future steps.

    The workshop concluded with valuable feedback and the adoption of best practises. The 5th NextCOMP workshop was another success, fostering stimulating discussions, giving the opportunity for all attendees to pitch in ideas, and identify the best ways to tackle the challenges behind measuring the fracture toughness of composites.


  • Dr Oriol Gavaldà Diaz MS Teams lecture Advert

    Dr Oriol Gavaldà Diaz "Micro and nanomechanical testing of ceramics and composites"

    = Video will be uploaded shortly =​

    Abstract: New structural materials rely on the micro- and nanoscale design of their microstructure to achieve the desired performance. A classic example of this can be found in long fibre reinforced composites used in aerospace, automotive or energy generation, where fibre-matrix interfaces are customised to achieve the desired strength and toughness. However, understanding the properties of these nanoscale features and their effect to the bulk failure is challenging. In this talk, I will be presenting the small-scale testing (from micro to nanoscale) that we have developed over the recent years to better understand the failure of materials and allow the design of new microstructures. I will show how we are able to test a variety of composites and ceramics and obtain nanomechanical properties such as toughness, strength and friction of fibre-matrix interfaces.

    Bio: Dr Oriol Gavaldà Diaz is lecturer in the department of materials at Imperial College London (from January 2024). Oriol obtained his PhD working within the Rolls Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) in manufacturing at the University of Nottingham, looking at the behaviour of ceramic composites during a material removal process. Before re-joining the University of Nottingham as a transitional assistant professor, Oriol spent over three years as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Materials at Imperial exploring and developing a variety of micro- and nano-mechanical testing techniques. Currently, his main interests involve understanding the failure of materials via small scale testing (micro and nano) and advanced characterisation techniques to feed the design of the new generation of ceramic and composite materials.​ ​

    We would like to thank Oriol once more for the lecture given on 10th January 2024 which was well atteneded as part of our Next Generation Fibre-Reinforced Composites (NextCOMP) Invited Lecture Series. For those unable to join on the day a video will be uploaded once it has been edited.


  • Dr Laura Pickard and Dr María Soledad Molina González inside the LHC at CERN and an insert of mock up showing small trusses and plates around beamline. Image credit (left) María Soledad Molina González and (right) Dr Laura Rhian Pickard

    Photo Credits: (left image) María Soledad Molina González and (right image) Dr Laura Rhian Pickard

    Laura visits the Large Hadron Collider and presents at CERN

    Following the successful Workshop in Composites for High Energy Physics held at Bristol Composites Institute in November, Dr Laura Rhian Pickard visited CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire or in English European Council for Nuclear Research) in December 2023 to present at the DRD8 Community forum on Tracking Detector Mechanics. Dr Pickard’s presentation “Composites for Tracking Detectors” was well received, by colleagues from CERN and elsewhere in the high energy physics community.

    This visit was well timed as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) beamline went into winter shutdown, allowing safe access. Dr Pickard visited ALICE - A Large Ion Collider Experiment. ALICE observes the particles produced when fast travelling lead ions collide and produce quark-gluon plasma akin to the early universe, using this information to better understand the evolution of our universe. Like all experiments within the LHC, ALICE needs composite structures to hold and cool her particle detector electronics. Very small, fine, precisely manufactured trusses sit in concentric rings around the beamline where the collisions take place, holding these detectors, with larger rings further out (shown in the figure insert). ​

    Special thanks to María Soledad Molina González (pictured right) for organising the visit to ALICE, pictured with Dr Pickard (pictured left). ​

    During this visit discussions on furthering the collaboration between Bristol Composite Institute, National Composite Centre, and CERN continued, with all parties keen to work together and excited to see what the future may bring. Watch this space for more information when we have it. ​


  • Group photo of all those who attended and presented at the NextCOMP at 8th International PaCE X-mas Symposium

    NextCOMP at 8th International PaCE X-mas Symposium

    NextCOMP were in strong numbers for this year’s 8th International PaCE X-mas Symposium hosted this year by Professor Alexander Bismarck (University of Vienna, Austria), Professor Eero Kontturi (Aalto University, Finland), and Koon-Yang Lee (Imperial College London, UK) between 7th-8th December 2023 at the University of Vienna. “Pints of Science” opened the proceedings and Dr David Anthony (Imperial College London, UK) gave a talk on “Carbon nanotube-grafted quartz fibers as piezoresistive reinforcement elements” as part in an extended session featuring Dr Lee and Dr Andreas Mautner (BOKU, Austria). It was the first year that Professor Ian Hamerton (University of Bristol, UK) was invited and he gave a talk on “Development of benzoxazine nanocomposite blends for space applications”, and NextCOMP’s Principle Investigator Professor Milo Shaffer (Imperial College London, UK) presented “Multiscale and multidimensional characterization of carbon nanomaterials and nanocomposites”. Mr Hassan Almousa (Imperial College London, UK) also joined in with a poster titled “Can carbon nanotube grafted carbon fibres improve compression performance?” as did Ms Diana Bratilescu (University of Vienna, Austria) presenting "High performance amorphous polymer composites" in the largest session yet held in the series with over 35 posters featured.

    There was plenty of fun (anyone for making batteries made using lemons and potatoes?) and science with an array of talks spanning a wide range of topics from cellulose composites stopping bullets, and 3D printing engineered living materials, to beer drinking and the promotion of materials engineering! ​


  • Hassan Almousa working on the Composite Line at University of Vienna

    NextCOMP continued collaboration with University of Vienna

    NextCOMP Team members Mr Hassan Almousa and Dr David Anthony took up the opportunity to use the large-scale continuous equipment at the University of Vienna collaborating with Alexander Bismarck, Diana Bratilescu, and the Polymer & Composite Engineering Group in the Institute of Materials Chemistry & Research. They were able to prepare carbon fibre samples by depositing a catalyst as part of the process to make hierarchical fibres, and excitingly created their first thermoplastic carbon fibre tape composites. More exciting outcomes to follow!


  • Dr Iheoma Nwuzor presenting at the BCI/NCC Annual Conference

    NextCOMP at BCI/NCC Annual Conference

    Dr Iheoma Nwuzor recently presented at the BCI/NCC Annual conference, where leading experts and researchers gathered to explore and exchange groundbreaking ideas in Composites of the Future: Tomorrow's Materials & Applications on the 16th of November 2023 at the Wills Hall Conference Centre. The conference provided a platform for in-depth discussions and the presentation of cutting-edge research. In her talk, "Promoting the future of innovative sustainability in composite materials for environmental impact reduction", Dr Nwuzor focused on sustainable composite materials. Her thoughts on sustainability and the most recent advancements in sustainable composite materials enthused the audience.

    Reflecting on her experience, Dr Nwuzor expressed enthusiasm about future collaborations and the potential for further advancements in sustainable composite materials. Undoubtedly, the experience gained from the conference will have a positive impact on her current research projects with NextCOMP which will contribute to the larger academic and professional community.

    The conference also included a poster from Dr Laura Pickard who presented her work on “Bioinspired, Pultruded Rod Based Hierarchical Composites”.

    It was a busy, well attended and interesting conference. Read more at 2023 BCI & NCC Annual Conference – Bristol Composites Institute Blog.


  • Photographs of the National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards (NAFEMS) seminar

    NextCOMP Phd students Sudirja and Xuanye Xu attend NAFEMS seminar on Practicalities of Analysing Composite Materials

    In a gathering of industry experts and researchers, the National Agency for Finite Element Methods and Standards (NAFEMS) seminar on the "Practicalities of Analysing Composite Materials" held on 5th December 2023 at the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre in Coventry, was a day filled with groundbreaking presentations and discussions on the challenges and advancements in the realm of composite material analysis. Bristol-based NextCOMP PhD students Sudirja and Xuanye Hu attended the all day seminar which also featured presentations by two NextCOMP academics Professor Michael Wisnon and Professor Silvestre Pinho. This news article was written by Sudirja.

    The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Dr Olivia Stodieck (Dapta Ltd.), setting the stage for the day's proceedings. Dr Stodieck introduced NAFEMS, emphasizing its integral role in engineering simulation development, particularly in the domain of composite analysis. Attendees were also briefed on upcoming events and were given a glimpse into the diverse topics on the horizon, ranging from robust design and analysis to the consideration of multidisciplinary designs, and optimization approaches.

    The seminar's first presenter, Professor Michael Wisnom (University of Bristol) NextCOMP Team memeber delved into "Important issues in modelling the response and failure of fibre-reinforced composites" and highlighted crucial challenges in simulating composite failure, underscoring the orthotropic nature of composites. His presentation emphasised the importance of material properties, through-thickness properties, non-linearities in fiber direction, and the validity of homogeneous properties. He also shed light on the significance of addressing issues related to delamination in composite materials.

    Lydia Cabezudo Carrascal (Airbus Defence & Space) took the stage next, presenting on the "Optimisation of carbon fibre reinfinforced polymer lay-ups for spacecraft honeycomb panels". Her presentation focused on the application of honeycomb structures to achieve lightweight aircraft components. Lydia shared details of progress in honeycomb research, offering insights into how these structures contribute to the aviation industry's pursuit of lightweight yet robust components.

    The third presentation, by George De Bolla (Jaguar Land Rover), centered around "Electromagnetic simulations for composite materials". George highlighted the use of lattice structures to advance electromagnetic research and elaborated on numerical simulation methods such as finite-difference time-domain, finite element method, and method of moments for solving electromagnetic problems.

    Following a break for lunch and networking, the post-lunch sessions commenced with Professor Stephen Hallett (University of Bristol), who addressed "Simulating composites manufacturing processes". He stressed the importance of process modeling in solving problems cost-effectively, reducing the need for extensive physical trials, and enabling the design of more manufacturable parts.

    Another familiar face from the NextCOMP Academic Team, Professor Silvestre Pinho (Imperial College London) then took the stage, presenting on the "Finite element modelling of very large composite aircraft wings". His research focused on bridging small-scale simulations with large-scale counterparts, utilising effective methods to provide faster and more accurate data for larger simulations.

    The seminar's concluding presentation was delivered by Eoin Simon (National Composites Centre), who discussed "Simulation tools developed for next generation wing production". Eoin introduced the National Composites Centre as a key player in composite research and elaborated on the facilities available to assist engineers and researchers in analysing and optimising composites with advanced technologies.

    The day wrapped up with a stimulating discussion session where presenters answered questions from participants. Notably, a question about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in composite simulations revealed a unanimous acknowledgment of AI's potential for enhancing simulation efficiency, tempered by the current scarcity of datasets for composite simulations. Another query related to the importance of material properties in simulation research received unanimous agreement from all presenters.

    The event not only showcased the cutting-edge developments in composite material analysis but also provided a platform for fruitful discussions and networking, leaving attendees inspired and enriched with valuable insights. The Practicalities of Analysing Composite Materials seminar undoubtedly contributed significantly to the ongoing dialogue in the dynamic field of composite material analysis. Xuanye and Sudirja thoroughly enjoyed attending and found it incredibly useful for their ongoing work as part of NextCOMP.


  • Richard and Jo showing composites to the childern from Young Bristol event

    Bringing Composites to Street Youth Work

    For the last few months the NextCOMP Team have been working on with partners Young Bristol and University of Bristol Public Engagement on an exciting outreach and engagement project. Funded by FUTURES, their co-produced “Discover Composites” workshop has been taken out on the road, delivered on the streets of Bristol through the Young Bristol Youth Club on Wheels programme. Composite related interactive activities involving jelly, spaghetti, eggs, clay, and chocolate have all been designed to inspire the next generation of composite engineers!

    Read the article published in the bi-annual Bristol Composites Institute external newsletter to discover more.


  • Photos of the days events for the CERN Composites for High Energy Physics Workshop

    Lively discussions at the Composites for High Energy Physics Workshop

    Recently we were delighted to host several colleagues from CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire or in English European Council for Nuclear Research), and the National Composites Centre (NCC) at Bristol Composites Institute (BCI), who joined a full day workshop discussing Composites for High Energy Physics which was organised and delivered by NextCOMP Senior Research Associate, Dr Laura Pickard and was funded by Bristol International Research Collaboration Activities (BIRCA). CERN physicists and engineers use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter-fundamental particles, and have a growing interest in harnessing the many benefits of using composite materials in development of their state-of-the-art facilities.

    Kicked off by a tour for CERN colleagues of the extensive NCC facilities, and following a welcome from Professor Ole Thomsen, Co-Director of BCI, workshop attendees from across BCI, NCC, and CERN spent the day discussing three important areas of research of interest to all parties which were cryogenics and extreme environment, truss structures and microvascular channels and cooling systems. Presentations on these themes from CERN, NCC colleagues, and BCI academics set the scene for very productive and useful discussions which provided further knowledge exchange opportunities as well as time to plan and prioritise ideas for future collaboration. Further presentations highlighted the numerous mechanisms available for collaboration across all the organisations including potential sources of funding for future work. CERN and NCC colleagues undertook a tour of the BCI lab during the working lunch which included observing some members of BCI demonstrating their relevant work, which together with the earlier tour of NCC facilities helped to inspire new ideas and thoughts about what might be possible for future work. A working dinner followed the days activities which allowed for more discussions, and CERN colleagues also attended the BCI and NCC Annual Conference which took place the next day.

    At the close of the workshop, when summing up the discussions, Dr Pickard noted the wealth of collaboration opportunities available and the many ideas for future work which had come to light as a result of the workshop. Dr Pickard said, “With thanks to funds from BIRCA, we have enjoyed a fantastic day of fascinating and very productive conversations. Bringing together CERN colleagues with key BCI academics and NCC colleagues has been incredibly useful and on all sides, has confirmed our strong desire to work together to build further collaborations.”

    Dr Diego Alvarez Feito of CERN commented, “I would like to thank the colleagues from BCI and NCC for organising a great workshop! It was a very valuable experience with plenty of enriching discussion, which I believe lays a strong foundation for exciting future collaborations.”

    Laura will represent BCI at the forthcoming for R&D collaboration on Tracking Detector Mechanics on Weds 6th December where she will meet other CERN colleagues as well as those involved in a wider consortium.


  • Iheoma Nwuzor attending Advanced Engineering 2023

    NextCOMP Team Member Dr Iheoma Nwuzor attends Advanced Engineering 2023!

    Research Associate Dr Iheoma Nwuzor enjoyed experiencing the innovation, technology, and industry best practices on display at Advanced Engineering 2023, held at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. An interesting and insightful event, Iheoma crisscrossed and engaged with professionals, peers, academics, industrial and business experts, industry leaders, and potential business partners. Benefitting from knowledge exchange through a series of seminars, presentations, and keynote speeches by experts, this event provided insightful information about opportunities, challenges, and trends in the current industrial sector.

    The event showcased state-of-the-art and innovative technologies that encompass areas such as composite manufacture for various industrial applications like aerospace, automobile, etc, textile technologies, aerospace manufacturing, automobile manufacturing, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, sustainable materials, and digital twin technology.

    Iheoma said "This was an excellent opportunity for me to engage with a wide range of stakeholders and see lots of different potential industrial applications for our work in NextCOMP. Inspired by what I have seen I am looking forward to sharing what I have discovered at Advanced Engineering with colleagues"


  • Nic Darras at Advanced Engineering taking part at the SAMPE UKIC Design, Make, Test Competition

    NextCOMP PhD Student Nicolas Darras competes in the SAMPE challenge at Advanced Engineering!

    SAMPE UKIC (Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering UK & Ireland Chapter) Design, Make, Test Competition Launch was hotly contested at this year’s Advanced Engineering 2023 event held at the NEC, Birmingham, UK. Nicolas Darras along with three Bristol Composite Institute (BCI) team mates Ege Arabul, Sutharsanan Navaratnarajah, and Umeir Khan enthusiastically rose to the challenge which was launched 20th September, with the finals taking place several weeks later on 2nd November.

    The student teams from across the UK were tasked to design and manufacture a bridge made from composite materials using a woven hybrid flax/carbon fibre prepreg. Several design parameters were essential to meet such as the dimensions: a minimum of 625 mm long and a maximum of 60 mm high. The bridges built by each of the teams were tested in a 3-point bend test on an Instron machine amongst a throng of onlookers!

    Several criteria were assessed by the judging panel such as the load-to-weight ratio, the originality of the design, and a 1-minute technical video that explained the decisions made by the teams for the design and manufacture of their specimen.

    Unfortunately, Nic and his colleagues didn't win the competition, but it was a fantastic opportunity to work together with other BCI students and a unique chance to be part of the Advanced Engineering event!

    Nic said, "It was really fun thinking about, designing and making the composite bridge. On the day we were quite nervous and excited, and it was a brilliant experience for all of us".


  • Torquato’s title slide at Composites 2023 and insert of his profile

    Torquato presents at Composites 2023

    Composites 2023 was held 12th-14th September in Trapani, Italy. A thematic conference of the 9th European Congress on Computational Methods in Applied Sciences and Engineering (ECCOMAS) series, with a focus on the mechanical response of composite materials. Torquato presented “A novel nacre-inspired CFRP microstructure for improved strain to failure under in-plane compression”.

    The conference mainly focused on theoretical and numerical modelling, prediction of the performance of composite components, and also covered experimental validation towards challenging industrial applications. A great social programme worked extremely well to foster a positive environment, productive discussion, and friendly interactions. Torquato met many colleagues from Imperial College London as well as engaging with people from an array of countries across the world including Spain, Portugal, Belgium, USA, Italy, and further afield, highlighting the truly wide ranging interest in the field.


  • Dr Frédéric Laurin lecture Advert

    Dr Frédéric Laurin "Determination of the longitudinal compressive strength of some laminated composite materials using various classical and innovative tests"

    = Video will be uploaded shortly =​

    Abstract: The present study proposed a critical analysis of the available existing tests in order to determine the longitudinal compressive strength of various unidirectional plies. The (i) standard compressive tests on uni-directional (UD) plies, (ii) additional bending tests on UD plies and (iii) an alternative tensile test on a specific lay-up that fails by fibre kinking were considered for different composite materials. The composites considered are (i) a classic aerospace carbon/epoxy material with standard ply thickness, (ii) another carbon/epoxy material with thin plies in order to study the effect of ply thickness on the strength and finally (iii) a carbon/thermoplastic material to highlight the role of the matrix on the strength studied. All these tests were highly instrumented in order to accurately determine the failure scenario and to ensure that the relevant failure mode was obtained.

    In order to analyse such tests (compression, tension and flexure), a micromechanical model, associated with a damage model defined at the ply scale, has been proposed. It has been shown that the variation in the longitudinal compressive strength obtained at the UD ply scale for tensile and flexure tests is consistent when the fibre kinking is considered at the microscopic scale, which appears to be the relevant scale of analysis. In addition, the influence of the position of the plies through the thickness has also been considered for compression tests and can again be explained by the use of a micromechanical modelling.​

    We would like to thank Frédéric once more for the lecture given on 22nd November 2023 which was well atteneded on our first Next Generation Fibre-Reinforced Composites (NextCOMP) Invited Virtual Seminar Series. For those unable to join on the day a video will be uploaded once it has been edited.


  • Photographs from FUTURES Up late at SS Great Britain image credits Jon Rowley, jonrowleyphotography.com

    Photo Credits: Jon Rowley jonrowleyphotography.com

    FUTURES Up late at SS Great Britain: Fantastic Festival Fun for NextCOMP and collaborators!

    The NextCOMP Team and BCI collaborators had a fantastic time on Friday 29th September 2023 at Up Late @ S.S. Great Britain, one of the events held as part of FUTURES organised by the University of Bristol Public Engagement Team, which NextCOMP attended for the second year running. Visitors of all ages and from across the city flocked to the Bristol harbourside to engage with researchers from all disciplines about their work, and visit the fantastic SS Great Britain ship at the same time! Our stand “Crushing it: Be a Composites Engineer” included some interesting naturally occurring "composite conversation starters" such as bamboo, sea glass sponges, and shells, as well as our composites creatures and composite timeline which shows the many and varied uses of composites throughout the ages! The NextCOMP Crusher was busy all night, with visitors vying to achieve the highest strength composite made from jelly and pasta, and the Team loved chatting with all the visitors about composites and our research.

    A huge thanks to all NextCOMP Team members involved including; Prof Richard Trask, Prof Ian Hamerton, Jo Gildersleve, Dr Laura Pickard, Dr Iheoma Nwuzor, Cameron Woodgate, Xuanye Hu, Sudirja, as well as new Composites Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Centre for Doctoral Training (CoSEM CDT) student Mary Sintim Donkor, and undergraduate aerospace engineering student Radia Shire.

    Photo Credits: Jon Rowley jonrowleyphotography.com


  • Laurie-Anne Entzmann at University of Bristol

    From IMT Mines Albi to Bristol Composites Institute: Masters student Laurie-Anne's internship with NextCOMP

    • "This internship was really fulfilling and enriching...I had a great time during this internship. I learned a lot both on a personal and professional level."
    • - Laurie-Anne Entzmann
      Masters Student Intern

    NextCOMP were delighted to host Laurie-Anne Entzmann, a Masters student from IMT Mines Albi-Carmaux (École des mines d'Albi-Carmaux) for several months April-August 2023. Laurie-Anne's work focused on the development of polymer formulations leading to novel architectures designed to improve the compression properties of reinforced polymer composites. Working with Prof Ian Hamerton, Dr Rachel Board, and Dr Kirk Willicombe in resin systems, and as part of the wider NextCOMP Team, Laurie-Anne's work will be further developed in the forthcoming months.

    Of her time with NextCOMP Laurie-Anne told us, "I liked being part of a team that supports and help each other, I had asked for a hand many times and I could always find people willing to help me. It gives also a lot more sense to what we are doing as it directly benefits to one another. The fact that every work package is linked to each other allowed me to have a general overview of what my work will contribute to. It also gave me the opportunity to discover many research fields of composite materials."

    It was a pleasure to host Laurie-Anne who was a very valued team member during her time with us. She has now taken up another fantastic opportunity working in Japan and we wish her all the best for her future exciting endeavours!


  • Three experimental photograph stills of three summer interns projects 2023

    Three undergraduate summer interns join NextCOMP

    It was a real pleasure to host three undergraduate summer interns at the University of Bristol who for 7-8 weeks worked in the NextCOMP Programme exploring a range of different challenges.

    We are very grateful for funding from the Faculty Industrial Liaison Office (ILO) internship scheme which supported Curtis Wong and Abdulrahman Al Hammami.

    Abdul (supervised by Dr Bohao Zhang) worked on the investigation of the effect of shear strain rate on the shear behaviour of polymer matrix for carbon fibre reinforced composites and throughout the course of his internship discovered that the yielding of polymer matrix was influenced by higher shear strain rates, which can be beneficial for the finite element modelling of composite materials subjected to compression (image left).

    Supervised by Dr Laura Pickard, Curtis focused his work on improving the compressive performance of pultruded rods in which he explored using different overbraiding configurations and a range of different materials (image centre).

    We also thank the Henry Royce Institute for funding work undertaken by our third summer intern, Charlie Sharp as part of the Royce Undergraduate Internship Scheme. Also supervised by Laura, Charlie's project investigated structural natural material (image right), with a focus on the efficacy of natural materials for use in composite structures, particularly off shore wind turbines. As part of his internship Charlie delivered a live presentation at the Henry Royce Institute Internship conference which took place on 1st September 2023 which was an enjoyable event and an excellent development opportunity.

    Throughout their time with NextCOMP our summer interns were given several opportunities to present their work and discuss their technical challenges with the wider NextCOMP Team. This lead to lots of discussion and they made some very interesting discoveries some of which will be developed further and we really enjoyed having them as part of the Team!

    The last word goes to one of our summer interns who said "The most positive thing about my summer internship with NextCOMP is the experience I’ve gained with composite manufacturing and academic research... I’ve gained a better understanding of what it’s like to conduct research in the field of composite manufacturing."


  • Laura Pickard (left) presenting at the International Composites Summit, and (right) networking Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub Annual Open Day 2023

    Photo Credits: (left) Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub, and (right) Composites UK

    September scoop: Laura wins presentation prize at Composites Hub Day and presents at ICS

    Dr Laura Pickard was delighted to be awarded the runner up best presentation award for her quickfire talk focused on human-robot collaborative manufacturing of “thick ply” prepreg sandwich systems. The EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub Annual Open Day 2023 event was held on 6th September, in Milton Keynes organised by CIMComp.

    Her poster and talk generated a lot of interest from the audience about the hierarchical composite concepts, as well as the cobotic layup, generating many interesting and productive conversations as a result, as well as her walking away as a prize winner!

    It was a very busy week as she also presented at the International Composites Summit 2023, also held in Milton Keynes at the Marshall Arena across 6th-7th September.

    An excellent opportunity to engage with industry, Laura's presentation at ICS on 6th September focused on her work in bundle systems and overbraiding. The summit was a busy event and many new contacts were made. Laura also enjoyed visiting and chatting with many of the exhibitors at this popular industry focused event.

    It was a very successful couple of days. Laura spent the prize money on treats and a toy for her dog Lola who was extra happy to see Laura on her return from her trip!


  • Laura Pickard and Mathéo Dias working at CERN

    CERN-tastic collaboration!

    In June 2023 Dr Laura Rhian Pickard spent a week at European Organization for Nuclear Research - CERN as part of her International Strategic Fund project “Composites Solutions for High Energy Physics”, which applies a NextCOMP development to a real-world problem. The results are very promising and a paper has been submitted to a leading journal. Dr Pickard was invited to deliver a seminar during her time at CERN which was very well attended (slides are linked here), highlighting work devleoped in NextCOMP and the Bristol Composites Institute (BCI). Work is ongoing to further develop this collaboration, including a workshop which will take place in Bristol in November.

    • "I was delighted when the team from CERN approached me about using my work, developed under NextCOMP, to solve a challenge for the next generation of Large Hadron Collider upgrades. Having started as a physicist the opportunity to contribute to this was a dream come true, bringing together my determination to do truly useful work in composites and the fascination of furthering our understanding of the universe. The results to date are great and have a wide range of potential applications beyond high energy physics. I had a great time during my visit and we identified multiple key areas for future collaboration between CERN and BCI, which we are now working on making a reality. Thank you to Mathéo, Diego, Francois, Soledad and everyone in the CERN composites team for a great visit and I look forward to continuing our work."
    • - Dr Laura Pickard

    Laura's work with CERN was made possible by her recent funding from the Career Development programme at University of Bristol. Following her successful application to the initiative, Laura undertook a three month sabbatical earlier this year enabling her focus on her career development, including attending dedicated workshops, and writing retreats to enable her to plan and write new research proposals and publications. Laura has used the time to great effect, with the CERN collaboration being one such example. NextCOMP were delighted that Laura was awarded this Career Development opportunity and we look forward to supporting Laura's future collaborative work with CERN and other partners in the forthcoming months!


  • NextCOMP call out for ECCM21 2024 special session in compression in composites

    NextCOMP are planning a special session at the 21st European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM21) in 2024

    We are planning a special session (invitation only) on composites in compression at the forthcoming European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM21) so please watch this space for more infomation and get in touch if you are keen to contribute.

    ECCM21 will be held in Nantes, France over four days from 2th to 5th July 2024.


  • Professor Leif Asp "Realisation and performance of carbon fibre based structural battery composites"

    The 2023 NextCOMP Annual Lecture was delivered by Professor Leif Asp on 23rd August 2023, who is a member of the External Advisory Board for NextCOMP. This talk introduces one type of structural battery composites made from carbon fibre reinforced electrodes. Here, the negative electrode is made from PAN-based carbon fibres distributed in a structural electrolyte [1], where the carbon fibre performs three functions: acting as reinforcement, active electrode material (hosting lithium) and electron conductor. The positive electrode also utilises carbon fibres in its construction. By coating a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) rich layer onto the fibre surface the fibre acts as current collector and reinforcement. The electrodes are separated by a thin veil and impregnated by a structural electrolyte.

    The effects of lithiation of the carbon fibre negative electrode on the mechanical performance of the structural battery composites are presented and discussed in depth along with manufacture and performance of the positive electrode and the structural battery composite full cell.

    We would like to thank Leif 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 (keZFfIbpR9U) 46:39 min


  • ICCM23 Special Session Advert

    ICCM23: Special Session on Understanding and Improving Longitudinal Compression Strength

    The NextCOMP Team are delighted to have organised a large special session at 23rd International Conference on Composites Materials (ICCM23), Belfast, UK featuring 28 speakers across eight sessions in three packed days of talks on "Understanding and improving longitudinal compression strength" held at the ICC Belfast International Convention & Exhibition Centre in Hall 2A (Tuesday 1st August to Thursday 3rd August 2023).

    A fantastically engaged audience, with thought provoking questions from leading academics and industrial partners, it was an insightful set of sessions with many new connections forged and fruitful discussions had. The sessions covered the full range of scientific challenges in compression from modelling, through matrices, fibres, ply level systems, bundle systems, and experimental characterisation, in line with our NextCOMP principles to examine and develop hierarchical solutions to inspire the next generation of composite materials.

    Thanks to all our amazing speakers who made it such a successful and enjoyable event; Leif Asp, Soraia Pimenta, Lars Pilgaard Mikkelsen, Tomas Katafiasz, James Pheysey, Michael Wisnom, Ian Lee, Francisca Martínez Hergueta, Gangadhara Prusty, Masahito Ueda, David Anthony, Mark Harriman, Torquato Garulli, Frédéric Laurin, Alexander Bismarck (deputize by Milo Shaffer), Rupam Gogoi, Declan Carolan, Laura Pickard, Dimitrios Bikos, Takayu Nishioka, Nabeel Safdar, Charlie Shaw, Russell Varley, Bohao Zhang, Philip Withers, Gustavo Quino, Cameron Woodgate, and Aree Tongloet.

    NextCOMP also appreciates the chair and co-chairs for hosting the sessions; Silvestre Pinho, Richard Trask, Gustavo Quino, Rachel Board, Milo Shaffer, Bohao Zhang, Paul Robinson, Laura Pickard, Michael Wisnom, Dimitrios Bikos, David Anthony, Torquato Garulli, Soraia Pimenta, Rupam Gogoi, and Tomas Katafiasz.


  • Video snapshot on the determination of dilation angle of polymers

    The experimental characterisation of dilation angle of polymers is fundamental to the understanding their compressive performance. In conjunction with a journal article in Polymer Testing a snapshot video of the study carried out by Dr Gustavo Quino and the Team can be found on YouTube (kKQ6c2ByXQ0) 00:29 min.


  • UoB NextCOMP and the stand at The Festival of Nature 2023

    NextCOMP Fun at the Festival of Nature!

    On 17th and 18th June, the NextCOMP Team took part in the Festival of Nature organised by Bristol Natural History Consortium at Millennium Square in the centre of Bristol.

    An incredibly busy Millennium Square, checkered with multiple marquees, became the hub of many fascinating nature-related discoveries. Large numbers of people attended the two-day event, from all walks of life to engage with the different activities.

    The NextCOMP "Woodpeckers and Wind Turbines: How nature inspires novel materials" stand attracted a lot of attention, with visitors keen to uncover facts about and vote for their favourite "Composite Creatures" (spoiler: it was the armadillo). Visitors enjoyed interacting with artefacts such as bamboo, shells, and natural fibres as well as some manmade carbon fibres and plies. A timeline of composites through the ages introduced visitors to the many ways humans have been harnessing the power of composites since their inception to their multiple uses in society today.

    The "NextCOMP Crusher" was in constant use, with visitors all struggling to create the strongest composite they could make from a jelly beam and using just two strands of pasta for reinforcement. Once constructed, attendees of all ages tested their jelly/pasta composite by applying weights until failure. This year’s Festival of Nature saw the record broken, with a massive 1 kg being achieved! Supported by our fantastic University of Bristol Public Engagement colleagues, it was a brilliant opportunity to meet and converse with curious and engaged local people.

    NextCOMP's Prof Richard Trask said "What an amazing positive outreach event to engage with all ages. The Festival of Nature brings wonderful conversations around the benefits of fibre reinforced composites for society now and what we need to do for a more sustainable future. Who can resist the composite crusher – a simple test, and yet both the ‘established’ and ‘budding’ engineers and scientists are all vying to do the impossible… create a structural composite from jelly and spaghetti! Cracking fun!


  • ICL NextCOMP and the stand at The Great Exhibition Road Festival 2023

    NextCOMP at The Great Exhibition Road Festival

    NextCOMP hit the huge Great Exhibition Road Festival 2023 over the weekend of 17th to 18th June and totally crushed it! The Team had the chance to enthuse thousands of interested visitors about the joy and importance of composites. Attendees got to handle real composite parts, including from a Lamborghini and a fighter jet, before attempting their own model systems. Jelly beam matrices were stiffened with spaghetti reinforced before testing to destruction. The winning designer managed to hold 1.4 kg – and even put up a cash prize for anyone who could beat him (they couldn’t). The structure of the broken jelly beam was compared to the microstructure of carbon fibre epoxy fracture surfaces using a digital microscope with a fresh real human hair as a scale bar (some of the team are balder than they were before!).

    The Teams efforts were highlighted by the organisers in a Tweet.

    It was non-stop action for two full days over the weekend; thanks to all the support from the GERF Team, and the effort from the EPSRC-funded NextCOMP crew including Hwei Lin Khoo, Charlie Shaw, Hassan Almousa, Rupam Gogoi, Dimitrios Bikos, Gustavo Quino, Silvestre Pinho, Soraia Pimenta, and Milo Shaffer.

    For more details on future The Great Exhibition Road Festival events please visit their site.


  • Nicolas Darras (right) spictured here with colleague Dr Bruno Moog (left) at the drawing tower for manufacturing glass fibres University of Southampton

    NextCOMP collaboration with University of Southampton

    NextCOMP PhD student Nicolas Darras spent some time at University of Southampton recently. Pictured here with colleague Dr Bruno Moog in front of the drawing tower which manufactures glass fibres, he will collaborate with University of Southampton colleagues on the development of this machine to integrate a coating agent phase during the manufacture. It is an exciting collaboration and we look forward to sharing more as this work develops.


  • Torquato presents at CompTest 2023!

    NextCOMP Team member Torquato Garulli gave an oral presentation titled: "Arresting propagating kinkbands: Failure mechanisms under longitudinal compression of carbon-boron fibre hybrids" in the first session ("Failure mechanisms") at the CompTest 2023 conference on 31st May.

    The 11th International Conference on Composite Testing and Model Identification (CompTest 2023), was organised this year by the University of Girona and held in Girona, Spain held between 31st May to 2nd June 2023. It took place in the beautiful former XIII century gothic convent of Sant Domènec, located next to the Middle Ages city wall, at the old town of Girona.

    Flawlessly organised, the conference was very interesting, packed with lots of attendees and was a great opportunity to network with friends and colleagues old and new with some fascinating presentations and posters.

    For previous Composites Testing and Model Identification Conference Series please visit CompTest.net website.


  • Students using the NextCOMP Crusher

    Centre for Doctoral Training student and NextCOMP Team member Ian Lee led the delivery of the NextCOMP Crusher activity at the recent very successful Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science/Composites Science, Engineering and Manufacturing (ACCIS/CoSEM) Centre for Doctoral Training Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CDT STEM) Outreach Day.

    Around 50 students from Year 12 from Katharine Lady Berkeley School in Gloucester travelled to the Bristol Composites Institute on the 18th May for a full day of composites related activities. NextCOMP Co-Investigator and Centre for Doctoral Training Research Director, Prof Ian Hamerton welcomed the students before they then embarked on several interactive activities delivered by the enthusiastic Centre for Doctoral Training students which included creating an aeroplane wing, enjoying the flight simulator, pillar drilling activity and the NextCOMP Crusher activity.

    It was a fantastic learning experience for both Year 12 students and Centre for Doctoral Training students alike, with both cohorts taking away new skills and experiences. We are delighted that Ian Lee volunteered his time to lead the NextCOMP activity with such energy and hugely grateful to the fantastic Centre for Doctoral Training Team and students for their hard work in putting the event together and making it such an enjoyable session.

    For more details of the event please see news article on Bristol Engineering webpage and the BCI blog post about the event.


  • Milo and other attendees at the 2nd International Workshop on Multi-Functional Nanocarbon Fibers (MNF2023)

    Connecting with the Carbon Nanotube Fibre community at Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)!

    Prof Milo Shaffer recently travelled to the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), Institute of Advanced Composite Materials which hosted the 2nd International Workshop on Multi-Functional Nanocarbon Fibers (MNF2023) between 14th to 17th May 2023. The workshop brought together experts in Carbon Nanotube Fibre research and development from across the globe during the three day period. As an invited speaker, Milo spoke on recent work on wet-spun carbon and inorganic nanotube fibres. It was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the latest in Carbon Nanotube (CNT) fibres, as well as other aspects of carbon fibre and composite development, including viewing the extensive manufacturing and characterisation facilities at KIST. CNT-based fibres are now commercially available from several suppliers and offer tension performance competitive with conventional carbon fibre.

    Alongside the highly informative time at KIST, Milo was invited to visit leading carbon expert Prof Rod Ruoff at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and met with Prof Woong-Ryeol Yu, Dean of Materials Science at Seoul National University, and leader of the Nano and Smart Composites Group, working on new carbon fibre technologies.


  • Cameron at Carbon Futures Conference

    Cameron at Carbon Fibre Futures!

    It was an early start for NextCOMP team member Cameron Woodgate presenting his work on "In Situ Raman Spectroscopic Characterisation of Single Carbon Fibres and their Modified Interface in Compressive Deformation" at the Carbon Fibre Futures Conference 2023 on the 9th May 2023. Presenting remotely at this conference hosted by Carbon Nexus, taking place online and in person at Deakin University, was a very enjoyable experience for Cameron who fielded some interesting questions about his research from attendees. Huge thanks to our colleagues Prof Russell Varley and Prof Luke Henderson of Deakin University and the conference team for their helping to make this happen!


  • NextCOMP Advocacy in action London

    NextCOMP Team members at the Composite UK Parliamentary Reception

    Prof Milo Shaffer and Prof Silvestre Pinho were delighted to attend the Composites UK: Parliamentary Reception at the Houses of Parliament on the 2nd May 2023.

    It was an opportunity to hear from speakers from across the UK composites industry, the event provided a forum for an interesting exchange of knowledge and networking possibilities. A number of MPs and government officials were in attendance as well as key industry and academic stakeholders, brought together in support of the UK's Composites sector. Themes discussed included the importance of sustainability, with Composites UK CEO Dr David Bailey stating "There is no netzero without netzero in composites".

    Milo commented that the event was, “A great opportunity to go behind the scenes at Parliament and talk to decision-makers at the heart of government – as well as building new connections across the UK composites industry”. We look forward to getting involved in future opportunities to engage with politicians and advocate for the composites community.


  • Lucas Lu and his poster

    NextCOMP student intern Lucas Lu presents poster at the Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching Student Research Festival

    Undergraduate student and NextCOMP student intern Lucas Lu recently presented his poster on "Sustainable Advancements in Composite Materials and Innovative Techniques on Manufacturing" at the Student Research Festival organised by Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching (BILT) held on the 25th April. He really enjoyed the experience and meeting the other students and the team from BILT who organised this excellent showcase of student research. Check out his poster and posters from other students at the online poster showcase here.

    Lucas first started working with NextCOMP in summer 2022 as a student intern, thanks to funding via the University of Bristol Faculty of Engineering internship scheme. Supervised by Dr Laura Pickard, he has been a valued member of the team ever since, working with team members focusing on the bundle systems workstream as well as getting involved in supporting our wider activities. He has been undertaking lots of manufacturing and testing work, in particular using the Dobot as well as training our 2023 summer intern undergraduate students. Lucas will graduate this year and we are looking forward to him authoring his first paper relating to his work on NextCOMP soon.


  • Composites activities to inspire the next generation at Imperial College London

    Composites activities to inspire the next generation

    Prof Emile Greenhalgh, Co-Investigator in NextCOMP and colleague Dr Anjit Panesar recently delivered an exciting engagement session on site at Imperial College London with young people across a range of ages from The Norwood School.

    • "As a world-leading Aeronautics Department, it is really important for us to inspire and enthuse budding engineers from London – these are the young people who will wrestle with and solve the future challenges for the UK."
    • - Prof Emile Greenhalgh
      Royal Academy of Engineering Chair for Emerging Technologies

    Students learned about some of the incredible career opportunities in the field of aeronautical engineering, discovered more about university student life and explored some of the exciting innovations in composites research currently taking place including in NextCOMP and Structural Power. The students were enthused and excited to hear about what potential future technological developments in this area might mean for them and there were lots of questions, ideas and "wow" moments. Students were given a behind the scenes tour of the research labs which was a highlight for many, as it helped them to see for themselves some of the exciting aspects of a career in research.

    One attendee commented "The testing department really excited me as you are able to test and optimise products before they go into production.” and another said, “I found it very insightful to tour the Aeronautics facilities and it really encouraged me to look further into the engineering sector and its opportunities!"

    The session was very well received by all attendees. Hayley Robjant, Head of Visual Arts Faculty, and staff member accompanying the group said, “It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn more about STEM in action, and how this could lead to a career, both in Aeronautics and other fields... The facilities that the students got to see were fantastic, and it really showed students what and how they could be studying in the future! The presentation from staff was inspiring, and really made students think about the development of materials and how this may impact on future design. The students had a wonderful day, and we would like to say thank you once again to the team for arranging a superb visit.


  • NextCOMP's Interactive Composites Workshop for Year 12 Students

    Interactive Composites Workshop for Year 12 Students!

    NextCOMP recently designed and delivered a very interactive and stimulating session as part of the Access to Bristol programme. This important programme from the Widening Participation Team at University of Bristol brings together Year 12 students from a range of different local schools and diverse backgrounds and via a number of different sessions, gives them an insight into engineering at University of Bristol.

    Icebreaker activities and a short talk introduced composites and their many applications. Students also learned about how we take inspiration from nature to look for and develop solutions to engineering challenges. It was a lively and interactive session. Students were able to make and test jelly/pasta composites using the popular NextCOMP Crusher kits which was a source of much amusement and learning. The session also featured our brand new activity The “NextCOMP Stretcher” which was a great success. This activity involves manufacturing a range of composites with different fibre reinforcements and testing their tensile strength in an experiment designed by NextCOMP Centre for Doctoral Training Student Ian Lee. Prof Richard Trask, Jo Gildersleve, Ian Lee, Eleni Georgiou, Nicolas Darras, Cameron Woodgate, and Rachel Board were involved in delivering the 2 h session which was very successful with excellent participant engagement.

    Thanks to the Widening Participation Team, University of Bristol Engineering for giving us the opportunity to deliver this session, please refer to the Access to Bristol Programme for further details.

    • "It was extremely interactive and managed to hold my attention for the whole session, which I sometimes find difficult!"
    • "I loved how engaging the experiments were, really enjoyed this session."
    • "The session was very interactive with lots of fun tasks regarding composites and practical's increasing tensile strength by combining a matrix and reinforcement."
    • "The session was informative and has sparked [my] intrigue into the subject of composite materials."
    • - Workshop Participants

  • NextCOMP Bristol Composites Institute Doctoral Research Symposium NextCOMP student Team

    Sharing NextCOMP research at the 2023 Bristol Composites Institute Doctoral Research Symposium and Imperial College London Department of Materials Annual Postgraduate Research Day

    NextCOMP student Team members were delighted to be able to present and share their research with lots of interested students, academics, and visitors at the Bristol Composites Institute Symposium on 4th April 2023. It was a very enjoyable and productive day with Aree Tongloet delivering a technical presentation, both Cameron Woodgate and Ian Lee presenting in the quickfire presentations section and Ian Lee, Nic Darras, and Eleni Georgiou displaying posters. The well-attended event (over 100 delegates from academia and industry) took place in the Bill Brown Design Suite, Queen's Building at University of Bristol and included talks from Co-Directors of Bristol Composites Institute Prof Ole Thomsen and Prof Stephen Hallett as well as from Centres for Doctoral Training Composites Science, Engineering and Manufacturing (CoSEM) Director Prof Steve Eichhorn. Presentations from across the materials, structures and manufacturing and design themes were featured.

    NextCOMP collaborator Aree Tongloet gave a technical presentation on "Investigation of the Compressive Behaviour of Carbon/Glass Fibre Hybrid Composites with a 4-Point Flexural Test". Cameron presented his work on "Compressive Characterisation of Single Carbon Fibres and their Interface via in situ Raman Spectroscopy. Ian presented and displayed a poster on "Highly Aligned, Discontinuous Fibre Composites for Enhanced Compressive Performance". Nic's poster focused on "Manufacture of Struts with Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer Rod Reinforcements" and Eleni showed her work "Towards More Sustainable Fibre composites with Improved Compressive Performance". For further details of the event please visit the Bristol Composites Institute Doctoral Research Symposium Webpage.

    At Imperial College, Charles Shaw showcased his work on silica aerogels at the Imperial College Materials Department Postgraduate Reseach Day held on the 27th March 2023.


  • Wordcloud from quotes from the outreach activity

    A lot of Jelly and a lot of Fun as Whole Primary school Community Enjoys NextCOMP Composites Outreach Activity!

    Approximately 420 schoolchildren from Westbury on Trym Primary Academy, Bristol learned some fascinating things about composites and had a lot of fun using the NextCOMP Crusher activity on the 23rd March. Designed for Key Stage 2, the activity was adapted in situ so that all schoolchildren (and their teaching staff) could enjoy it, from Reception up to Year 6.

    Lead by the very proactive and enthusiastic staff at the school, following a whole school assembly introducing the activity, the children were excited to manufacture and test their jelly and pasta composites and made discoveries about composites as they did so.

    Enormous thanks to the Westbury on Trym Primary Academy school community for their energy and to the children for their enthusiasm. The NextCOMP Crusher Key Stage 2 Schools Activity was developed by NextCOMP team members Eleni Georgiou (PhD student on the Centre for Doctoral Training in Composites Science, Engineering and Manufacturing) and Bohao Zhang (Post Doctoral Researcher) as part of the FUTURES festival of Discovery.


  • Eleni Georgiou and Bohao Zhang NextCOMP members on Zoom Call

    Encouraging the Next Generation of Composite Engineers!

    Year 4 class: "Is it hard to become a researcher?"
    Answer: "Anyone can become a researcher, the most important thing is that you enjoy what you do. I didn't think I could become a researcher, but I kept just doing the things that I enjoyed. I like creating new ideas and working on things that no one else is."

    Eleni Georgiou (Centre for Doctoral Training student, NextCOMP) and Bohao Zhang (Research Associate, NextCOMP) recently brought composites fun to around 90 children and their teachers from Avonmouth Primary school.

    They developed a very interactive "Discover and Discuss" schools activity aimed at key stage two (KS2) children as part of the FUTURES: A Festival of Discovery, supported by the University of Bristol Public Engagement. The activity introduces composite materials and provides the materials and resources for the school children to manufacture and test their own composites made from jelly and pasta using the NextCOMP Crusher experimental set-up. This resulted in a lot of questions from the school children about jelly composites, “Do you use jelly to make any of your composites?

    The activity was undertaken by three separate classes at Avonmouth Primary school (Year 3, Year 4, and Year 5). Eleni and Bohao then had the opportunity to meet each of the classes with their teacher in three Zoom calls. The school children asked some fantastic questions and were really engaged with the topic, as well as keen to find out more about research and how to become a researcher. We were delighted to be able to deliver this activity and look forward to engaging with more schools in the forthcoming months.

    • "The [pupils] thoroughly enjoyed it and I believe they learnt more about composites. Fun engaging activity that allowed the [pupils] the opportunity to use their sientific skills with equipment and resources that we would not normally be able to use."
    • "he [pupils] thoroughly enjoyed it and I believe they learnt more about composites. Fun engaging activity that allowed the [pupils] the opportunity to use their sientific skills with equipment and resources that we would not normally be able to use."
    • - Teacher

    This activity was part of over 20 other sessions taking place with schools across the South West, where classes take part in completing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEAM)-based activities from online resources researchers have designed.

    For further information on ones that can be done at home please visit Futures Night: Do Try This At Home.


  • 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 7th International PaCE X-mas Symposium 2023

    NextCOMP at 7th International PaCE X-mas Symposium

    Professor Milo Shaffer and Dr David Anthony were delighted to be invited to speak the 7th 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 lecture

    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.


  • Laura presenting at EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub Open Day

    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


  • Laura and Cameron in the lab

    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


  • Bristol Composite Institute Logo

    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