The Northwest Composites Centre (NWCC) acts as a regional centre of expertise in supporting, evaluating and introducing innovation in manufacture, design and testing of advanced composites.
NWCC is a collaboration which incorporates researchers from several schools in the University of Manchester, together with colleagues from the universities of Liverpool, Lancaster, Bolton and Glyndwr to create a centre of international scientific reputation to the benefit of academia and industry.
Established in February 2006, the Northwest Composites Centre received a £2.1 million grant from the Northwest Science Fund, administered by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
High performance composites have gained great acceptance in areas where their lightweight and exceptional strength outweigh cost issues, for example in the aerospace sector. Now, with developments in materials, automation and low-cost processing technologies mean composites can be used economically in a growing number of applications in automotive, wind/tidal energy, marine, rail, civil-infrastructure, medical and recreational sectors.
The Northwest Composites Centre’s mission is to:
- Undertake basic and applied research leading to the development of new, cost effective, low energy, low cycle time composite processing routes for making components and demonstrators
- Establish the effect of these production routes on composite structure and performance and thereby optimise their fitness for purpose
- Act as a regional centre of expertise supporting, evaluating and introducing innovation in composite manufacture and design
- To increase the supply of well trained graduates at MEng, MSc and PhD level for industry & academia
Northwest Composites Centre hosts over 35 PhD students and Post-doctoral RAs with funding provided by the EPSRC, TSB, BIS, EU, MoD, DSTL, US Air Force and the industry. The Centre supports research activities of over 60 academics, see below.
- Composites design, modelling and mechanical testing
- Composite materials for Wind Generation, delivered through EPSRC Supergen Wind Energy Hub
- 3D fibre architectures: 3D weaving, braiding, Robotic forming of multi-functional multi-material preforms, delivered through EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites (http://epsrc-cimc.ac.uk/ )
- NDT and Structural Health Monitoring
- Novel nano-additives to resin systems
- Development of novel test methods and materials database delivered through the Composites Innovation Cluster funded through BIS AMSCI.
The Northwest Composites Centre also hosts:
The NCCEF provides support to short-term needs of the industry, which may lead to long-term R&D collaboration.