PhD Studentship Enhanced performance and cost-effectiveness of 3D composites through selective hybridisation

Closing date: 9th August 2013

This is a collaborative project between the University of Surrey, the University of Manchester (School of Materials) and the Materials & Structures Technology Centre of the MOD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The project is concerned with understanding damage development in three-dimensionally reinforced composite materials and, consequently, producing improvements of these materials in the areas of cost-reduction and /or mechanical property improvement through selective hybridisation (i.e. combining carbon fibres and glass fibres in the same composite material). The project involves mechanical testing, analysis of damage development (through in-situ observations, microscopy of sections and the use of micro-X-ray computer tomography), and the manufacture of novel hybrid composites. 

Three-dimensional (3D) reinforcement of composite materials has the advantage that the through-thickness (Z-direction) reinforcing yarns impart an extraordinary resistance to delamination unmatched by any other fibre-reinforced composite material. Important applications are envisaged for 3D CFRP and GFRP composites in areas such as blast protection (e.g. in vehicle armour), marine structures, wind energy (wind turbine spar caps), aircraft structures (from small components to primary load-bearing structures), civil engineering beams and novel joints. To date, however, two major issues, addressed within this project, are delaying their implementation: the limited understanding of the behaviour (particularly in-service behaviour, such as fatigue) and concerns about the cost of 3D composites. 

There are therefore three primary aims for this project. First, to understand the damage accumulation mechanisms leading to final failure for the quasi-static and fatigue loading of three-dimensional (3D) orthogonal weave carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and glass fibre reinforced plastic (GFRP) composites. These composite materials have a complex microstructure and understanding the ways in which damage develops under quasi-static and fatigue loading is very limited at present (see references 1 and 2, for example). Second, to use selective hybridisation of the CFRP and GFRP yarns within the 3D composites to investigate (a) the production of cost-effective, carbon/glass alternatives to 3D CFRP composites, (b) improvements in the performance of GFRP 3D composites by introducing carbon yarns; the choice of hybridisation route will be assisted by a much better understanding of the development of failure. Third, to carry out a brief survey of some key properties of the hybrid composites relevant to engineering applications.

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This is a project within Engineering Materials that is suitable for students with a first degree in Engineering (e.g. Materials Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering) or Physics, with a minimum of an upper second honours degree.

Contact:  Professor Steve Ogin (  Tel: 01483 689614


This is an EPSRC Studentship with a “top up” provided by Dstl. Due to funding restrictions, it is open to UK students and EU students who fulfil the usual residency requirements. The student stipend is £15,726 per annum.


1.  VadlamaniS, KakaratsiosZ, OginSL, Jesson DA, KaddourAS, SmithPA, SirichantraJ, and Bogdanovich AE (2011) “Damage development in a glass/epoxy non-crimp 3D orthogonal woven fabric composite” Proceedings of ICCM18, Jeju, S. Korea.

2.  Karahan M, Lomov SV, Bogdanovich AE and Verpoest I (2011) “Fatigue tensile behaviour of carbon/epoxy composite reinforced with non-crimp 3D orthogonal woven fabric.” Composites Science and Technology, vol 71, p1961.

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