EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/F012489/1
Title: Cure monitoring of composite structures - in search of the missing link !
Principal Investigator: Partridge, Professor IK
Other Investigators:
Smart, Dr P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Applied Sciences
Organisation: Cranfield University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2007 Ends: 30 June 2008 Value (£): 52,378
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
30 Apr 2007 Collaborating for Success Through People Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Over the last 15 years researchers at Cranfield University and elsewhere have spent a lot of effort in developing a reliable means of following the process of cure in polymer composite structures. Cure is the irreversible chemical process by which an initially liquid mixture of low molecular weight thermosetting species (such as epoxy monomer and amine hardener) turns into a viscous rubbery substance and eventually solidifies. Once a thermosetting part has cured, it cannot be remade. The reason why it is important to be able to monitor and control this process is because if a mistake is made at this stage of the manufacture, the product becomes very expensive and almost unrecyclable scrap.This is clearly an important issue at a time when ever larger and more structurally critical parts of civil aircraft are being made from thermosetting polymer composites. We believe that, between Cranfield University and its partners, we can offer the most technologically advanced, reliable and configurable cure monitoring system available anywhere in the world. As yet, the take up of the technology by the composites industry has been disappointingly low. We believe that the reasons for the non-adoption lie in the fact that none of the would-be user companies have established their own cost-benefit balance for this technology. This project is designed for us to start the process of establishing the information required for this balance to be determined. The economic questions to be asked are non-trivial and we will require a significant amount of trust on the part of the companies to gather the information. We therefore need to make sure that the information we acquire is relevant, generic and of potential benefit to the whole polymer composites community. In this project scientists and technologists will come together with experts in innovation, economics and manufacturing management.Between us we will make a number of visits to relevant companies, will produce easily understood promotional literature describing the cure monitoring technology and exhibit a demostration at a major international show. We will also provide opportunities for young practitioners in the academic community to meet with technicians from the relevant industries so that the two communities gain an understanding of each other's needs, thus ensuring better collaboration in the future.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk