Transatlantic composites

The University of Manchester is to receive £1.5m over the next two years to develop new composite technologies and materials for future aircraft.


The University of Manchester is to receive £1.5m over the next two years to develop new composite technologies and materials for future aircraft in partnership with The University of Washington in Seattle under a new DTI pilot scheme.


Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge and SETsquared (a consortia of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey) have also been awarded grants under the scheme.


The partnership will formally establish the Manchester Seattle Composite Partnership (MSCP). The MSCP will work with the Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Airbus, Boeing and a wide range of businesses in the UK and US.


 “The development of civil aerospace composites is the key to future ‘greener’ aircraft, but the lack of proven test methodologies and durability assessment procedures is limiting composite take up in new products. This partnership gives us the opportunity to unlock the potential composite materials have to offer the aerospace industry,” said Professor Phil Withers of the University of Manchester.


The project will also focus on the development of new methods to test safety levels of composite materials. It will also seek to formally evaluate the constraints of current composite design and certification processes.


The project, which was initiated through the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) of which Manchester and Seattle are members, builds on the composites programme initiated by the Northern Aerospace Technology Exploitation Centre (NATEC) and the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA).


A significant part of the project fund will be dedicated to delivering trained graduates in composites in the US and the UK.


Funding for the project will begin in April 2006.