In the Advanced Composite Materials and Manufacturing Laboratory, we design, create and test materials – such as biomechanics, ceramics, woods, metals, alloys, composites and plastics – and analyse their effectiveness.

Some of the testing includes tensile, compression, bending, low velocity impact, fracture toughness, vibration and fatigue tests of composite materials and components.

As well as PhD researchers, courses using the lab include MSc Advanced Manufacturing Technology, MSc Mechanical Engineering, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, BEng (Hons) Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and BSc (Hons) Industrial Design.

As part of the Material Engineering Research group, the facility has been used as part of knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) projects with companies such as GMD, Formaplex, Magma Global, and KCC.

The lab is currently being used for pioneering research that's exploring how new sustainable and lightweight composite materials – made using bio-based, biodegradable, plant-based natural fibres – could make the automotive, marine and aerospace industries significantly greener.

Other recent project highlights include FLOWER (Flax composites, LOW weight, End of life and Recycling project) and SeaBioComp.

Testing and research carried out in the lab includes:

  • Nano-testing (indentation, scratching and impact)
  • Thermal characterisation (MDSC, DSC, TGA, TMA, DMA, Laser flash and hot-wire thermal conductivities)
  • Materials testing (tensile, compression and flexural test at low and elevated temperatures, pendulum, falling weight and ballistic test impact and hardness)
  • Durability testing (thermal, chemical, moisture, UV and hygrothermal degradation test)
  • Surface properties test (contact angle, surface tension and surface topography)
  • Structural integrity evaluation C-scan and X-ray CT-scan)
  • Manufacturing (vacuum bagging, compression moulding, injection moulding and thermoforming)
  • Failure analysis of engineering materials and structures
  • Fatigue/fracture, creep and oxidation at elevated temperature
  • Multi-axial and mixed mode fatigue and fracture

Equipment

  • Universal testing machine (Zwick/Roell Z030)
  • Drop weight impact tester (Zwick/Roell HIT 230F)
  • Drop tower impact tester (Instron CEAST 9340)
  • 3D image correlation including micro-macro (LA Vision, GMBH)
  • Instron 8500 Digital control testing (Instron)
  • Vibration testing Nominal frequency response 2 Hz to 5000 Hz (Shaker system, VP85)
  • Landmark fatigue testing (MTS
  • Izod and Charpy impact tester (Zwick/Roell HIT50P)
  • Nanoindentation testing (Micro Materials Ltd.)
  • Nano-testing (Bruker HYSITRON TI PREMIER)
  • Vacuum bagging system
  • Compression moulding machine BYTEC JRP BEPEL
  • Thermogravimetric analyser (TGA) (TGA Q50 V 6.1 TA Instruments)
  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) (TA Instruments, DSC Q100)
  • Thermomechanical analyser (TMA) (TA instruments 400)
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analyser (DMA) (TA Instruments Q800)
  • Hybrid Rheometer (TA Instruments, Discovery HR-3)
  • Laser flash thermal diffusivity measurement (Netzsch)
  • Contact angle measurement (CAM 101 KSV)
  • Environmental test chamber(TAS)
  • UV accelerated weathering tester (Q-Lab)
  • Ultrasonic C- scanner (Physical Acoustic Ltd)
  • Hot wire thermal conductivity measurement (Kemtherm QTM-500)
  • X-ray micro CT XTH225
  • Optical microscopy
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

Contact us

If you're interested in using our expertise and equipment for your research, product and service development, quality control or employee training, please contact hom.dhakal@port.ac.uk.

Where to find us

Advanced Composite Materials and Manufacturing Laboratory

School of Mechanical and Design Engineering
Anglesea Building 0.20e
Anglesea Road
Portsmouth
PO1 3DJ

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