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Exeter Composites Lab

The Exeter Composite Lab seeks to tackle several manufacturing barriers to the widespread utilisation of thermoplastic composites, for thick-section metal-replacement.

We aim to provide viable lightweight, recyclable, composite systems with important commercial implictations, as evidenced by the level and depth of industrial support and interest in this area. 

Successful manufacturing routes are based on a fundamental understanding of the behaviour of materials during processing, leading to innovations in areas such as equipment functionality, a design overhaul of compression moulding tooling and post-processing operations of moulded parts.

Overcoming manufacturing barriers are not trivial, often leading to game-changing impact. This work has led to the creation of novel thermoplastic composite manufacturing concepts challenging the utility of both aluminium and thermoset resins.

Through a range of Innovate UK funded projects we have investigated the use of novel materials and developed a good understanding of how to design moulds and control processing conditions when using HPPs and manufacturing thick sections (> 50mm) Read more.

Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) is a ready-to-mould glass-fibre reinforced polyester material primarily used in compression mouldings. Exeter has a lab scale system for producing novel SMCs and has carried out numerous projects optimising its use, including incorporating recycled content. Read more.

We use traditional and novel techniques to develop the next generation of composite materials for AM that offer multifunctional capabilities, such as working with Graphene and Boron Nitride for various conductivity and insulating properties. Read more.

From hemp fibre and cashew nut resin to the latest in high temperature tolerant composite materials, Exeter is working with industry partners to deliver the light weight braking solutions of the future. Read more.

The group has a strong history of research in composite recycling and reuse, particularly of glass fibre composites, and through CALMARE is continuing to carry out work in this area including involvement with networks such as the Composites Leadership Forum to further develop opportunities for the wider industry. Read more