Composite materials and polymers

The University of Surrey has been active in the field of composite materials for more than 40 years.

Over that time the subject has evolved dramatically, as has the range of engineering applications for which these materials are used.

The field is inherently multi-disciplinary and as such, researchers in Mechanical Engineering Sciences (MES) collaborate with colleagues in a range of other departments and Research Centres within the Faculty, including: 


The Group has excellent facilities for fabrication and testing of composite materials and structural elements. Most recently we have invested in a state-of-the-art DIC (Digital Image Correlation) system, enabling global and local strain analysis in composite materials and structures under load.

Our work

Continuous fibre composites based on a range of material and reinforcement types (non-woven, woven, stitched fabrics, 3D systems) and short fibre systems. 

In addition novel materials are being investigated, including:

  • Nano-composites
  • Bio-composites
  • Drug-delivery nano-polymers

Design and lifing are important thematic areas, including:

  • Work on design allowables
  • Impact damage in composite structures
  • The behaviour of composite beam systems
  • The stochastic modelling of composite materials and structures

Who we collaborate with

Research in composites at the University of Surrey has always had a strong industrial focus and this has been enhanced by the opportunities for collaboration afforded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Micro- and Nanomaterials and Technologies based within the MES Department.  

Through this we have a wide range of current and recent collaborators including:

  • BAE Systems
  • Dstl
  • Hexcel Composites
  • McLaren
  • Morgan-Sindall
  • NPL
  • QinetiQ
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Scott Bader
  • SSTL
  • TWI

Major research activities

  • Damage characterisation and modelling in laminates, in particular 3D composites
  • Fracture and fatigue of structural elements, including joints and repairs (characterisation, modelling, SHM)
  • Failure Criteria/Development of design allowables
  • Processing and process modelling
  • Structure and properties of nano-reinforced composites
  • Sustainability
  • CMCs/MMCs

Find us

University of Surrey