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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G012938/1
Title: Fibre waviness defects in composite structures
Principal Investigator: Sutcliffe, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Fleck, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
DOWTY PROPELLERS Simulayt Ltd Vestas
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2009 Ends: 31 July 2012 Value (£): 259,705
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Processing
Materials testing & eng.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Manufacturing
Related Grants:
EP/G015848/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Oct 2008 Materials Prioritisation Panel OCT Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Composites are now widely used in a wide range of applications. In the wind turbine and aerospace sectors recent innovations, including larger and more sophisticated structures, have driven the need for better understanding of failure of composite structures. Use of lower-cost process routes requires a need for better understanding of the inevitable defects in such composite structures. Failure of well-controlled flat composite panels is now generally well understood. However real manufactured components contain a range of stress concentrators, some associated with relatively controlled features such as joints, ply drops, sandwich panel closures and holes, some more uncertain associated with defects including fibre waviness, resin-rich areas and gaps at sandwich core breaks. The aim of the project is to understand and model how such defects affect the strength of the structure.The project has three main strands: (i) characterising realistic defects in industrial components and in controlled laboratory specimens, (ii) identifying mechanisms of compressive failure under fatigue loading and developing predictive models for failure at waviness defects, validated with experiments, (iii) modelling of defect formation during processing. Case studies suggested by industrial partners Dowty and Vestas of a propeller and a wind turbine blade will be used. The models will be incorporated into software tools, in collaboration with Simulayt Ltd, for use in design.
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk