Design and Make Competition 2021 – Deadline Extended to 17. September 2021

In conjunction with the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub would like to invite you to participate in a “Design and Make” competition to manufacture a composite bridge.
This is an opportunity to put your composites experience into action and represent your university in this national event. Teams will have to use their knowledge and creativity to design a suitable simply-supported structure to carry a 1kg load at the mid-span. This competition is intended to give young
engineers hands-on composites experience in design and manufacturing. The objective is to produce the longest structure to support the defined load.
The contest will take place on the 19th October 2021 and a prize will be awarded to the team with the longest functioning design.

About SAMPE UK and Ireland

SAMPE UK and Ireland is a networking organisation of 150+ professionals and students in advanced materials, which is very active in composites. An objective of SAMPE is to foster technical excellence in the UK, by promoting interest in new materials and processes within the composites community. SAMPE wishes to support this event to create a dialogue and network with tomorrow’s engineers. Free annual membership of SAMPE UK and Ireland will be offered to all participants who attend the contest in person. Further information about the UK and Ireland Chapter can be found at


  • The bridge must be a standalone, simply supported structure.
  • The bridge must support a mass of 1kg at the mid-span (1 bag of sugar, 200 x 100 x 70mm each)
  • The mass of the structure must be less than 250g
  • There is no minimum specification for the width of the bridge, providing the load can be held in position unaided
  • The bridge must be manufactured from the materials provided:
    • 15mm wide, 80gsm spread tow carbon ribbon (50 linear metres)
    • 1kg epoxy laminating resin
    • 625 X 625mm Rohacell 31 IG-F PMI foam core, 3mm thick
  • Mechanical fasteners must not be used. Joints should be created by co-curing
  • The longest span to carry the central load wins
  • In the event of a tie-break, the central load will be increased
  • No more than 4 members per team
  • Only one entry per team. However, universities/companies are welcome to enter multiple teams if they wish
  • At least one team member must be present during the Hub Open Day on 19th October 2021


Teams may contain undergraduate, postgraduate/postdoctoral researchers and early career engineers, but must contain no more than 4 members. Entries are welcome from all universities and companies in the UK and Ireland.


Send an e-mail to Joanne Eaves by Friday 17th September 2021 to register your team for the competition, or use the registration form below. Entries beyond this date will not be accepted, as sufficient time is required to organise the material kits.


Judging will take place during the Hub’s annual Open Day on 19th October 2021, which will be held virtually. Participants will be expected to demonstrate that the central load can be supported whilst live on camera during the lunch-time session. A laptop with a web camera is therefore required to take part. Please note that the event will be recorded and shared via social media in whole or in parts.

The Hub’s Open Day

The Hub’s free-to-attend Open Day will celebrate the midpoint of the Hub, providing an opportunity for Hub researchers to highlight and showcase project outputs. This will be a great opportunity for those across the composites sector to learn more about the latest research and developments in composites manufacturing. All team members are welcome to attend this event. Please register to the event via the button below. Questions regarding the competition or the Open Day should be sent to Lee Harper.

AMRC Composite Centre Virtual Tour

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), hosted a virtual tour of its Composite Centre facilities on 12 May 2021. The event provided an overview of the state-of-the-art Composites Centre capabilities, combined with engineer engagement and a Q&A panel session. The hour long event provides insight into the recent investments in advanced composite processing technologies and enable the virtual visitors access to the world-class facility located in Sheffield. The tour took the attendees to three sites, including Factory of the Future, Foers Braiding and Factory 2050 Press facility.

Watch the recording of the tour:

Annual Seminar 2021: Progressing from the Pandemic

SAMPE UK and Ireland Chapter, Annual Seminar and Tabletop Exhibition – Virtual 10th and 11th March 2021, Hosted by The University of Edinburgh

Due to the restrictions posed by the pandemic it was decided to go ahead as usual with our annual seminar, but in the form of a virtual event. Despite the new communications challenges, we are pleased to report that the seminar was a great success with over 120 registered delegates, 11 presentations and 10 tabletop exhibitors. Our special thanks go to our financial sponsors: Surface Generation, Bright Lite Structures, Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Magazine (M&MT), CNC Robotics Ltd and The University of Edinburgh (UoE). We acknowledge the important participation of all our tabletop exhibitors, the names of which are listed at the end of this report, and who provided pre-recorded short videos of their company’s activities, which were shown in breaks between the presentation sessions. Finally our thanks go to our SAMPE Events Team Sub-Committee headed by Conchúr O’Bradaigh (UoE) for organising the programme, and to Katrina Saridakis and Emily Martin (UoE, Research Institute Services) who provided and supervised the communications software platform which enabled the seamless interaction between delegates, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors.

1. Session 1: Wind Energy

  • Andrew is Senior Director of Manufacturing and Engineering leading a global team of 175 engineers. LMWP has 13 factories with a total of 13,000 staff, and has been manufacturing blades for 25 years. They have produced nearly 0.25 million blades in total, with 13 thousand blades in 2020, mitigating 250 million tonnes of CO2
  • The presentation highlighted the development of blade length from 7 metres to the current longest blade of 107 metres. Originally most wind turbines were on-shore but there is a shift to off-shore installations. The transport difficulties associated with the longest blades require a factory location close to the installation site, hence these factories are now at the coast.
  • There has been an exponential rise in blade length from 20m (1980) to 107m (2020). LMWP is a large user of composite materials with a typical annual consumption of: Reinforcements (130k Tonnes), Resins (95k T), Cores (150k m3). The challenge of blade length is not restricted to transport logistics. The moulds are massive and are completely automated regarding tape-laying positioning, adhesive bonding of joints and closure. An operator can walk up to 5km per shift, in say 15 inspections of the mould, from hub to tip. Blade-handling requires special equipment because the longest blades are heavy (nearly 50T) but they are also delicate. The fast turn-around time is approximately one blade per mould per week. Production rate is driven by the world’s escalating need for transition to zero-carbon energy.
  • For the future, increased tip speeds present a continuing design challenge. Longer blades require stiffer structures using H-glass fibres and carbon fibres in stiffness-critical parts of the blade, but never 100% CF due to cost. Further investment in advanced processes and automation is underway. Design life is of the order of 25 years but end-of-life issues aim for fully recyclable blades, with a probable greater use of thermoplastics.      
  • Shortly after the presentation GE Renewable Energy / LMWP announced publically that Teesside has been selected as the location for a new factory to build the 107m blades with the creation of 750 new direct jobs plus 1500 indirect jobs. We send our congratulations to LMWP.

2.  Session 1: Wind Energy

  • Peter is Chief Engineer for Energy at NCC Bristol with 13 years experience in composites R&D. Energy is a rapidly changing sector with the ambitious target for zero CO2 emissions.  NCC is part of 7 R&D centres focusing on pre-production applied R&D in the development range TRL 4-6. The “Horizon” energy project is a 10 years programme involving many industrial partners, including the fossil fuel giants, Shell and BP.
  • The presentation focused on three main areas: (1) Off-shore wind – Horizon 1 (work underway), (2) Pressure systems – Horizon 2, (3) Off-shore structures – Horizon 3 (10 years duration).
  • Work is underway to define the technologies needed for the manufacture of giant turbines with very long blades in excess of 100m. This wide-ranging project includes design, materials, smart blades, reducing manufacturing waste, and recycling. Right now, more waste is incurred in manufacture than is recovered in recycling.  
  • Giant turbines require proportionately large support structures which in turn require novel designs, including XL Floating Turbines, together with improved anti-corrosion properties for extended lifetime. To date thermo-set resins are used mainly, and NCC advises that these materials still have development potential. Thermoplastic resins show great promise and will facilitate end-of-life, but more work is needed to exploit. To continue the “green theme” NCC is looking at recycled carbon fibres but more confidence is needed in their variability.
  • Pressure systems comprise both cylinders and pipes and whilst originally the containment requirement was for hydrocarbon gas / fuel, development is needed for the transport of H2 and captured CO2. Off-shore H2 pipes need a hydrogen-resistant matrix with thermoplastic repair capabilities.
  • Success in the energy transition industry requires three prerequisites: (1) quantified sustainability (2) robust data and communication (3) mature and reliable delivery.

3Session 2: Sustainability

  • Dipa is a Senior Lecturer at UoE with 23 years’ experience in composites. Her presentation described two projects aimed at enhancing thermoplastic properties: (1) modified acrylic matrix (2) bi-component fibres.
  • Thermoplastics have many useful properties but high viscosity is a major drawback in fabrication. Work focused on ELIUM thermoplastic acrylic matrix which has a useful low viscosity but is amorphous and therefore has attendant poor properties: solvent resistance, creep, thermal mechanical instability and embrittlement.     
  • The effect of adding 5% polyphenylene ether (PPE) was examined .The solvent resistance is excellent using a soak test of 72 hours in acetone: Acrylic 28% weight loss; Modified Acrylic 2% weight loss. This excellent solvent resistance is due to molecular cross-linking with the PPE, which did NOT adversely affect either the thermo-formability /recyclability of the mixed resin, or the viscosity compared with the base-line pure acrylic.
  • The second part of the presentation summarised work on thermoplastic bi-component fibres, a project run in conjunction with I Comp, Limerick. Bi-component fibres were spun with a non-melting core (i.e. a higher and an easy-melting sheath. Polyester (PET) and polyolefins (PO) were studied as the core material, with a sheath of PPE. Composites were made from both 100% self-reinforced bi-component fibres and with added glass fibres: 18% GF / 32% PET core / 50% PPE sheath. An optimum level of composite strength, modulus and toughness is produced from an appropriate blend using conventional thermoplastic processing.

4. Session 2: Sustainability

  • Kevin has a strong automotive background in the luxury car sector (e.g. Aston Martin) and since moving to FAR-UK is involved with a broad range of automotive and aerospace projects. He stressed three prime inter-connected factors which underpin all sustainable composite applications:  (1) Made by Robots – i.e. don’t just consider automation (2) Led by Analysis – from initial design and onwards (3) Circular Economy – make the most of what resource we have.
  • The rapidly changing trend for vehicles is: Standard →Low Weight →Electric. It is important to recognise that in this trend towards a green environment, CO2 emissions often actually increase in manufacture, whereas in use they fall as expected. This is the equation to balance to achieve the required net effect; it is not just about choosing the “best” materials with the highest mechanical properties and operating temperature range. For materials, the factors to balance are Energy Use / Mechanical Performance / Cost. The true cost and environmental impact of a product is given by the total energy in lifetime. Here is where the “circular economy” is important.
  • Kevin advised that the “business model” is more important than Government legislation. The business model starts with the design – for extended use, re-use / re-manufacture, and recycling, with the latter as a last resort.

5. Session 3: Automotive

  • Tom is Head of Technology and Applications based in Durham, with an impressive background in automotive with Volvo, BMW and others. Gestamp is a Spanish company with manufacturing in 24 countries, 13 R&D centres, sales of €7.5 bn and 40,000 employees.  They make bodies, mechanisms and chassis. Their core business is steel and hot pressing, but they are also large users of aluminium. 
  • Gestamp has a 3-5 years project to address chassis development for electric vehicles, which includes composite materials. The chassis is a safety-critical structure in which stiffness, strength, durability all affect driveability and safety. These requirements are common to both I.C. engines and electric / battery cars. The battery adds from 250 to 600 kg to the weight of the car. Noise needs addressing – the engines are quieter, so the road noise increases (although composites will mitigate NVH).
  • The light-weighting project to reduce CO2 is in three areas: (1) Innovation and Design (2) Materials Selection (3) Design for Manufacture. Gestamp acknowledge that composites have made significant inroads into automotive design: Luxury Supercars → Luxury volume Cars → more Mainstream, but cost is a limiter to volume use. Composite chassis parts were shown made by compression moulding and over-moulding. Multi-structures and hybrid structures (steel / composite) were shown with 35% and 44% weight saving compared with 100% steel.
  • But the role of metal in bulk electric cars is far from over. Steel continues to give excellent weight / cost performance for volume cars and continues to be the majority material in the total market. Work on the sustainability of aluminium technology, metal corrosion resistance and manufacturing innovation continues in parallel with composites development.  Gestamp focus on whole life cost for the time when electric vehicles become standard at volume.     

6. Session 4: Transportation

  • Mark is Chief Operating Officer for Technology at Artemis. Originally engaged in aerospace, he has automotive experience with both road cars and racing cars with Williams F1. He joined Artemis full-time in Year 2020.
  • Maritime transport contributes 2.5% of total global emissions equivalent to 1000m tonnes CO2 per year. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) legislates that emissions must reduce by 50% by Year 2050. Maritime needs to catch up with aerospace and automotive.
  • Artemis is the lead in the Belfast Maritime Consortium Partners involving a £53m programme with 12 partners, with the aim of producing zero-emissions commercial vessels. The test-case is the first “autonomously controlled, fully submerged, electric hydrofoil” for service as a commercial ferry. (note, “fully submerged” means a ferry which spends all of its time in the water, as opposed to a conventional ferry which discharges, loads and parks on shore).
  • A video was shown of the Artemis eFoiler, a racing composite catamaran which incorporates a number of features used in the hydrofoil. A primary environmental advantage of a hydrofoil is that because it flies over the water, there is very low drag and increased engine performance resulting in up to 90% fuel saving. Since the vessel is lifted up, the use of lightweight composites is essential. The design is based on future-proofed technology and is easily scalable. Other advantages include: a comfortable ride (compared with a bouncing conventional ferry), no wake and hence no bank erosion, and zero emissions using a hydrogen fuel cell.
  • An 11 metre demonstrator will be complete by the end of 2021. Artemis has invested $250k in the project which will produce the first full-size vessel in 2025. The specification is: Length 25-40m; Weight 90-100 tonnes; Speed 35 knots.

7. Session 4: Transportation

  • Elspeth is a Research Fellow and has been at WMG for 10 years. This project grew from the acknowledgement of the sharp decline in the use of public transport, especially since the start of the pandemic, due to the general public’s perceived danger in exposure to the virus from touching much-used surfaces. The grab poles on buses were selected as a most appropriate focus for development.  Composites lend themselves to accommodating additives and have the added advantage of low weight.
  • WMG lead a team including Composite Braiding (Derby), Heath and Safety Executive (HSE), Transport Design international (TDI), and two bio-companies: Bio Cote and Promethean Particles. Braiding was selected as the best method for producing tubes in high volume.
  • Glass fibre / Nylon PA6 was selected for ease of manufacture, cost, and performance. Pre-impregnated tows are wound and then consolidated by rapid vario-thermal moulding. 
  • Two types of anti-microbial chemicals are being investigated. The first contains silver ions and is applied to the surface as a bio-coat. The second contains copper nano-particles which are mixed in with the paint.
  • The anti-microbial efficiency of the composites is being tested at HSE laboratories. The effectiveness against both bacteria and viruses will be tested; most expertise at HSE is with the former.

8. Session 5: Innovating – Part 1

  • Antony has a strong automotive background starting with March Engineering in1985, and later with McLaren and Bentley. He founded BLS in 2015.
  • The fabrication techniques used in earlier production successes with BMW, Zenos, aircraft seats and parts for trucks and buses were summarised. Essentially the breakthrough technology is how best to make a precise complex 3–D shape from a flat panel. The use of recycled short carbon fibres in the skins facilitates fibre slip and enables controlled 3-D contouring. The skins are typically on a PU core and a special spray head delivers up to 7 components including epoxy and PU resins, pigments and mould release agent.
  • This presentation focused on a recent development with Tesco supermarket delivery trucks. The component is the floor of the truck, and must be perfectly flat. Two fundamental criteria must be met: the maximum truck weight is 3.5 tonnes and therefore a standard driving licence can be used. A total of 39 prototype floors have been made, 4.2m x 2.2m. Some small metal fixtures are required and these are easily melt-bonded in to the core. Advantageous drip channels are inserted in the composite floor, which the metal floor does not possess. Robotic trimming and drilling is used.
  • The composite floors save a remarkable 60 kg weight. The trucks are weight-limited, not volume limited. Since the average shopping lot is just 6 kg the payload is greatly increased. Tesco has placed an order for 1500 floors during 2021. Right now the floors are stiffer than the chassis, and springs are used to control the chassis roll movement. The next floors will be thinner and therefore even lighter.

  9. Session 5: Innovating – Part 2

AFP Pre-forming for Improved Impact Tolerance. Rutger Kok, University of Edinburgh.

  • Rutger won 1st prize in the 2020 student seminar presentation (virtual) and was invited to present today. Second prize was awarded to Jasmine Bone, University of Surrey.
  • Out-of-plane impact damage (ID) often limits the increased use of composites, especially in aerospace. The three normal remedies: 3-D weaving, Z-pinning, stitching, are difficult to introduce and often reduce in-plane ID. Rutger introduced “Interlaced Composites” using Automated Fibre Placement (AFP).
  • In a multi-directional composite some of the mechanical benefits of the anisotropy do not fully translate. AFP is easily modified to leave gaps between the tows; then fibre layers in different orientations are introduced, before the gaps are then filled with 0° fibre, and then the process repeats. Quasi-isotropic and 0 /+60 / -60 lay-ups were studied. Interlacing had the desired effect with only a small reduction in strength, modulus and in-plane ID, which shows interlacing to be a much superior process to the three normal remedies.
  • Modelling of the lay-ups shows no easily identified repeating patterns, so care is taken to select a “typical” section of composite for testing. Numerical modelling was explained and the model was shown to be in good agreement with test results for strain effects, strain failure and mode of failure.

10. Session 6: Innovating – Part 2

  • Alasdair is a mechanical engineer formerly with Advanced Composites Group but for the past 5 years he has been a Director of SG, which has 25 employees. SG’s business is in making and selling process equipment for plastics and FRP for enhancing product performance. They service right across the different markets with predominantly export sales. Their special expertise is in localised and rapid thermal control.
  • The equipment comprises three parts: Control Panel; Tool Base; Zoned Tool Face. The latter is the only bespoke part, tailored to the geometry and nature of the component. The zoned, independently temperature controlled, tool face enables, for example, the uniform cure of a variable cross-section thermo-set part. In this presentation SG focused on the use of their technology in the uniform thermal control of thermoplastics, in both injection moulding (IM) and thermoplastic over-moulding (TPO).
  • AR explained the fabrication of an aerospace component using thermoplastic bulk moulding compound (BMC) in which the long chopped fibres offer a bridge in performance between IM and conventional compression moulding. There are two challenges to uniformity: the high resin viscosity (melt 350°C to 420°C) and the fact that the material is initially thermally insulating.  Localised thermal control mitigates these problems, facilitates mould- filling and elevates the properties of the composite.
  • A separate project was described to evaluate the effect in the TPO process of improved thermal control of melt temperature (and related pressure) on joint strength. Bindatex tapes were injection over-moulded by SG using three different tools: flat pack, spiral pack and joint pack, and the panels were tested at Nottingham University which showed the high integrity of the joint.
  • AR ended by describing current work on “wearable technology” which means, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). These products are used for a whole range of applications including the arts / design, electronic interactive games, and in the industrial market for on-the-job training. A huge growth in the combined market is forecast which demands thinner optics, reduced mass and very low warp. SG’s technology addresses these requirements very well, in addition to accommodating component complexity and scale-up. Thermo-sets will be used for prototyping and thermoplastics will be used for volume.

11. Session 6: Innovating – Part 2

  • David is a chemical engineer and is Head of Materials and Processing at Lilium GmbH which he co-founded in 2015 and which has 600 employees. His has an aerospace background including a former senior position with EPIC Aircraft in USA.
  • Lilium is addressing the challenges of a world increasingly urbanised, congested and polluted. Some 29% of emissions derive from transport. There is expected to be large growth in the need for green air travel. Having considered all options for aircraft type (fixed / rotary wing) and flight range, Lilium selected a short-haul regional fixed wing aircraft with electric / zero emissions power, low noise, and with the capability for vertical take-off and landing, i.e. eVTOL.
  •  A video was shown of a flying 5–seater prototype, range 300km, speed 300 km/hr. Conventional ailerons make the aircraft highly manoeuvrable. Safety is paramount, and successful design, rapid prototype development, and volume production rely on a number of key features: ease of inspection, which facilitates quality control, automation, and an established public data base. Automated processes, as currently used for automotive are envisaged.     


Sharp & Tappin / Compcut.             Langzauner.                                     Bindatex.

Composites UK.                                 Tygavac Advanced Materials.       LMAT.

Creative Composites.                        CCP Gransden.                                MSC Software.

M C Wright and Son.

Kindly sponsored by

Young Engineer and Students’ competitive seminar 2021

Are you a PhD, EngD, or Master student researching Advanced Materials, Processing or Manufacture?

How about an expenses paid trip to represent SAMPE UK & Ireland at a European Conference?

Come and present your work online at our Young Engineer and Students’ competitive seminar on the morning of 10th March 2021; followed by free access to our online Annual Seminar 2021 “Composites – Progressing from the Pandemic” on 10th (PM) & 11th March. The two students judged to give the best presentations will be announced at the Annual Seminar, and one will have the chance to present their work live to the audience. The two students win an expenses paid trip as the SAMPE UK & Ireland student representatives to the SAMPE Europe Conference held in Baden / Zürich (Switzerland) on 29 – 30 September 2021, and take part in the European heat of the Students’ Seminar. Win that and go on to represent SAMPE Europe in the USA in 2022!

This is a great chance to meet and network with research students from across Europe. To enter submit a short 200 word abstract of your work to be presented online or email,; or for more information contact Dr Carwyn Ward at University of Bristol:

Deadline for submission of abstracts: Thursday 25th February 2021.

Students are invited to join a panel of experts online on the morning of Wednesday 10th March 2021, to give a 15-minute presentation with 5-minutes extra for questions, on their research project. All participants will get free student membership of SAMPE for one year, and free access to our online Annual Seminar 2021 “Composites – Progressing from the Pandemic” on 10th (PM) & 11th March.

The two best presenters will be announced at the Annual Seminar and one will have the chance to present their work live to the audience. The two students win an expenses paid trip[1] as the SAMPE UK & Ireland student representatives to the SAMPE Europe Conference held in Baden / Zürich (Switzerland) on 29-30 September 2021, as well as taking part in the European heat of the Students’ Seminar.

Participation in that European conference and students’ seminar is a fantastic opportunity to network with other European researchers, in the true SAMPE spirit. The overall European winners will go on to represent SAMPE Europe in the USA on an expenses paid trip[1] in 2022. In previous years, students have very much enjoyed taking part and have gained useful experience, with SAMPE UK & Ireland providing five European winners to date.

UK & Ireland University and HE Colleges are encouraged to invite their Masters and Doctoral research students to participate in this competitive Students’ Seminar. An initial selection will be based on submitted abstracts, and usually students nearing the end or beyond the mid-point of their studies are favoured. Abstract acceptance is based on a relevant topic and appropriate stage of study; whilst presentation judging is based on content, technique, presentation skills, and overall participation in the online session.

To be considered as a participant for this event, please complete the Abstract Template available for download below or use the submission form at the bottom of the page with a short 200 word description of your work to be presented, and return it by email to no later than Thursday 25th February 2021. For any further questions or comments please contact Dr Carwyn Ward at University of Bristol,, or Dr Lee Harper at University of Nottingham,


Word document:

Download the competition announcement:

Chris Hunt of Bristol Composites Institute, University of Bristol, presenting his SAMPE UK & Ireland and SAMPE EU winning presentation during the SAMPE EU Conference in Nantes 2019.

[1] Accommodation and conference fees paid by SAMPE Europe; reasonable travel fees paid by SAMPE UK & Ireland.

[2] Cost of flights, accommodation and conference fees paid by SAMPE.

Travel Grant 2018

Sampe Student and Young Researcher Travel Grant Post Conference Report 2018 by Petar Zivkovic


The Sampe Student and Young Researcher Travel Grant allowed me to attend and present at the Sampe Europe Conference 2018 in Southampton. The theme of the conference was “Large Structures in Composite Engineering” and this was particularly suited to the work which I was presenting titled: “Improving the Aesthetic Quality in Composite Marine Bulkhead Joints through Applications of Design for Assembly”, which is work that I have done during my post graduate masters studies, but never had the opportunity to present. The conference itself was very insightful with many stimulating presentations and tutorials. The first day comprised of two tutorials, the first being a tutorial on Thermoplastic Composites in Aerospace delivered by Arnt R. Offringa. This was a very informative tutorial and gave an overview of where thermoplastics stand in the aerospace industry and where lie future interests. The second part of the tutorials was a parallel session, where I observed the design and manufacture process of large composite structures delivered by Prof. John Summerscales and Dr. Richard Cullen. Completing my undergraduate studies at the University of Plymouth, I worked very closely with John and Richard, and it was a pleasure to attend one of their tutorials again after many years, as it was linked very closely to the work I was presenting. The first day of the conference had three parallel sessions where I mainly attended the Materials and Processing session on General Processing, with occasionally dropping into the Aerospace session on thermoplastics. The second half of the day was spent on industrial visits. This in, my opinion, is one of the best aspects of conferences like this as it allows for a more interactive discussion to take place and see how businesses operate and construct products. I also attended the Sunseeker visit which took place in their production facility in Weymouth. At Weymouth, 50 and 116 foot yachts were being manufactured and seeing the size of such structures cannot help but make one think how amazing it is that it is possible that they are manufactured all out of composite. The final day of the conference is when I presented my work within the special applications session on marine and renewables. The work focused on quality through aesthetics and the design for assembly of marine bulkhead joints, whereby a new method for creating bulkhead joints was developed, allowing it to be easier for manufacturing/assembly and more robust in maintaining tolerances. The presentation was well received by the audience with an few interesting questions that sparking a lively discussion. In addition, the chair of the session, Prof. John Summerscales, was presenting in a parallel session at the same time. To mitigate this, he has asked me to co-chair the session with him and take over after my presentation so that he would be able to deliver his. This was another remarkable experience and opportunity for me as I had never anticipated chairing a session this early in my career. Throughout the conference, there have been numerous opportunities for networking and I have met multiple individuals from the industry and other academic institutes such as Tom Frazier from Automated Dynamics, and Terry McGrail from University of Limerick, as well as committee members from Sampe Europe and Sampe UK and Ireland chapter. This allowed me to create links that will undoubtedly assist me further along in my career. Overall, the experience of attending this conference was so positive that I have already started planning and preparing for the Sampe Europe Conference 2018 in Nantes. I would like to take the opportunity to thank once again Sampe for supporting me in attending this conterence

Annual Student Seminar 2018

The 2018 SAMPE UK & Ireland Student Seminar was held at the IOM3 in London on 5th July. This event was heavily subscribed, with six smart students all giving impressive talks.

The judging panel comprised Andrew Mills, Carwyn Ward and Natalia Becerra.

The student presenters were:

  • Geoff Neale (Ulster): “3D woven glass preforms for crash energy absorption structures”
  • Lourens Bloc (Bristol): “ALM printing carbon TPs”
  • Ghilane Bragagnolo (Surrey): “Flexural behaviour of CF fabric PMI core sandwich panels for car floor impact resistance”
  • Wini Obande (Edinburgh): “In mould polymerised acrylic TP RTM”
  • Riikka Hasa (Imperial): “Multilayer unusual lay up CF epoxy inspired by sea shells”
  • Danijela Stankovic (Edinburgh): “Tensile strength investigation of ultra strong CF suspension bridge strut joints”

The winners were Riikka and Geoff, who repeated their presentations at the SAMPE Europe conference in Southampton in September, along with the winners from the other SAMPE Europe chapters.

In the “composite” photograph shown above, from left to right: Danijela Stankovic, Riikka Hasa, Geoff Neale, Natalia Becerra, Andrew Mills, Carwyn Ward, Ghilana Bragagnolo and Lourens Bloc.

SAMPE Europe Conference 18 Southampton: Large Structures in Composite Engineering

SAMPE Europe Conference 18 Southampton, hosted this year by UK & Ireland Chapter, 11-13 September 2018

The SAMPE Europe Conference 18 Southampton was jointly organised by the SAMPE UK & Ireland Chapter and SAMPE Europe, and was held 11-13 September 2018, in Southampton.

The main sponsor was Huntsman, with event partners: National Composites Centre, Compcut Advanced Composite Machining, and Sharp & Tappin.

The annual partners were Fokker, TPRC, Evonik, JEC Group, GKN Aerospace, Leichbau BW, Teijin, Coexpair, Surface Generation, Tencate Advanced Composites and Airbus.

The table top exhibitors were Kruss, Com & Sens, Gearing Scientific Ltd, CIMComp (EPSRC research hub), Titaniua, University of Southampton, Airbourne, DTC and Tygavac Advanced Materials Ltd.

Summary of the Programme

The programme spread over three days, with the first day dedicated to tutorials. The second day opened with keynote presentations, followed later in the morning by three parallel sessions. In the afternoon, the delegates split into groups to either attend one of five plant visits or to attend the Automotive Special event at Beaulieu Motor Museum. Following the site visits, all delegates transfered to Beaulieu for the evening event. The final day comprised of parallel presentation sessions.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

Pre-Conference Tutorial (A)
Thermosplastic composites in aerospace: Materials, Technologies and Applications
Arnt R Offringa MSc, Head of Aerostructures R&T, GKN Fokker Technologies, Netherlands.

Pre-Conference Tutorial (B1)
Design and manufacture of large composite structures
Prof John Summerscales and Dr Richard Cullen, School of Engineering, University of Plymoth, UK.

Pre-Conference Tutorial (B2)
Tooling technologies for composites manufacturing: Additive, Metal, Composites, Rubber, Shape Memory, Molds and More
Dr Scott W Beckwith, BTG Composites Inc & SAMPE Global Technical Director, USA.

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Plenary Session
Materials challenges for the future of aerospace: Kay Youngdhl Blohowiak, The Boeing Company, USA.
Large structures of advanced composites in civil engineering: Urs Maeier, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA), Switzerland.

Parallel Sessions
Special Applications: Sustainable Composites.
Aerospace: Thermoplastic Composites.
Materials & Processes: General Processing.

Thursday 12 September 2018

Parallel Sessions
Special Applications: Space; Marine & Renewables; Automotive.
Aerospace: Dry fibre placement, preforming; Design, dampage, materials; Thermoplastic tape placement.
Materials & Processes: Modelling & Testing; Aerospace Processing; Additive Manufacturing; Joining & Bonding; Thermoplastics for Oil & Gas.

Annual Seminar 2021: The Sky Is Not The Limit: Composites Technologies For Cross-Sector Applications

Annual Seminar and SME Table Top Exhibition, 13 February 2020

SAMPE UK & Ireland chapter organises an annual technical seminar, where a large number of industry professionals from OEMs, their Suppliers (T1, T2, materials etc.) as well as SMEs are present. There is an almost equal number of delegates and researchers from universities. The seminar, aligned to a particular theme, has 8-10 technical talks detailing the latest innovations and trends in various areas such as Composites Manufacturing Technology, Advances in Design Practices, Materials and Processes, Additive Manufacturing, Market Applications etc. In general, speakers have exemplary experience either in industry or in academia. The seminar also has a table-top exhibition to showcase novel, innovative products and services as well as student posters to highlight the latest academic research.

Media Competition 2021

Calling all Young Composite Engineers

The Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering would like to invite you to participate in a media competition to show the Resilience of the composite materials community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is an opportunity to promote your products, services or research ideas at a national level, using your composites knowledge and creativity to produce an informative video that can be shown to the wider composites community. This may demonstrate;

  • How your research has been affected by COVID
  • Development of new products to diversify your business
  • New opportunities or services you have offered during the pandemic to support your local community

SAMPE UK and Ireland is a networking organisation of 150+ professionals and students in advanced materials, which is very active in composite materials. An objective of SAMPE is to foster technical excellence in the UK and Ireland, by promoting interest in new materials and processes within the composites community. SAMPE wishes to use this event to create a dialogue and network with tomorrow’s engineers.
The competition is being organised in conjunction with the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub. The winning video will be displayed at the annual SAMPE UK & Ireland seminar in March 2021 and on the SAMPE website. A cash prize will be awarded to the winning team with the smartest video and free annual membership of SAMPE UK & Ireland will be offered to all participants.
Further information about the UK and Ireland Chapter can be found at
Further information about the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub can be found at


  • The video should be aimed at a non-technical audience – think GCSE students.
  • The video must be no longer than 3 minutes and should be filmed in landscape.
  • The video must contain footage from either a laboratory, manufacturing facility or office environment, and should not simply be a recording of a set of PowerPoint slides.
  • There should be no inappropriate language or offensive content, as the winning video will be hosted on the SAMPE website and displayed at the annual seminar.
  • No more than four members per team.
  • Only one entry per team. However, universities or companies are welcome to enter multiple teams if they wish.
  • At least one team member must be present at the seminar in March 2021.
  • Your entry should be hosted on a video file sharing site, such as Wistia or Youtube, and the link should be sent to before the competition deadline.

Teams may contain undergraduate, postgraduate or postdoctoral researchers and early career engineers. Entries are welcome from all universities and companies in the UK and Ireland.

Registration for the competition must be completed in advance by sending an email to Please register your team by Friday 29th January 2020, providing the following information:

  • Team name
  • Team members
  • Team point of contact e-mail
  • Affiliation

Your video should be submitted by Friday 15th February 2021. Winners will be announced in March ahead of the SAMPE UK & Ireland annual seminar.

Questions regarding the competition should be sent to

Design & Make Competition 2019

SAMPE UKIC held its first annual Composite Design and Make competition on 12th September 2019 at the University of Nottingham, in conjunction with the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub open day. Six teams competed to build the tallest freestanding tower to support a mass of 1kg. Entries had to use either glass fibre or carbon fibre, with no metallic fasteners, with a total mass of less than 250g.

There was a clear winner at just over 6.7 metres, which presented a real challenge for the judges during the testing. The winning team from the University of Bristol were presented a trophy and a cash prize by the SAMPE UKIC Chairman, Tim Wybrow. Tim commented that “our first Design and Make competition for Young Engineers and Students (YES) has been a huge success. It has created a real buzz and I’m so pleased to see so many new young and enthusiastic people engaging with SAMPE”.

From left to right: Francesco Morabito, University of Bristol; Tim Wybrow, SAMPE UKIC Chairman; Chris Hunt, University of Bristol. (Third team member: Yian Zhao, University of Bristol)