MAterials and STructures (MAST) Research Group news

Banana peel fibres

Achille Ferrante was an Erasmus+ placement from Università degli Studi di Camerino during January-March 2018. Our joint paper, Evaluation of tensile strength of fibers extracted from banana peels, has been published in Journal of Natural Fibres, 2020, 17(10), 1519-1531 today. The publisher has offered 50 free online copies of the article, so the early bird gets the eprint at Enjoy!

02 September 2020


Dr Antony Robotham, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has received a President's Special Award for Pandemic Service from the Royal Academy of Engineering. The award is in recognition of his work to design a protective face shield for frontline staff that would have the least possible environmental impact. Learn more about the Special Award.

17 August 2020

InterReg Channel/Manche INdiGO project approval

The InterReg Channel Manche monitoring committee has approved funding for the INdiGO Targeted Project/Plastics Pollution led by Université de Bretagne-Sud (UBS). INdiGO looks to develop, test and validate innovative biodegradable fishing gear with a controlled-lifetime in marine environment and to stimulate environmental technologies. The main aim of the Plymouth involvement will be to encourage fishing stakeholders to move towards more sustainable behaviours by promoting a circular economy. The University of Plymouth funding is €540k from 2019 for three years. A post-doctoral research fellow and a PhD student will be recruited in due course: potential applicants should contact the University of Plymouth lead Jasper Graham-Jones with expressions of interest.

04 October 2019


Mohammed Al-Bahrani had his viva voce examination today and was recommended for the award of PhD subject to corrections to the thesis. The thesis title was The Manufacture and Testing of Self-Sensing CNT Nanocomposites for Damage Detecting Applications.

24 September 2019


Matthias Wimmer, a research degree candidate at University of Plymouth Munich Node, had his viva voce examination today and was recommended for the award of PhD subject to minor corrections to the thesis. The thesis title was Development, modelling and analysis of Vacuum Assisted Multipoint Moulding for manufacturing fibre-reinforced plastic composites. The supervisors were Christoph Maurer (in Munich) and Frank Abraham.

30 August 2019


Two colleagues, Frank Abraham and Sourajyoti (Raj) Basu, have escaped to pursue new careers!

31 July 2019  

Jahir joins Editorial Board of Ships and Offshore Structures 

Jahir Rizvi has accepted an invitation to join the Editorial Board of the international, peer-reviewed Ships and Offshore Structures journal.

10 May 2019


Sahar Sahib Elaiwi successfully defended her PhD thesis, Analysis and design of castellated beams, at viva voce examination. Subject to minor corrections to the thesis the degree will be awarded in due course, The supervision team was Professor Long-Yuan Li and Dr Boksun Kim.

03 May 2019

Engineering PhD studentships

The following PhD studentships starting on 01 October 2019 are now open for applications:

  • Nanocoating for FRP composites in marine environment
  • Cyber-physical security system in renewable energy infrastructure
  • Developing high performance, durable graphene oxide concrete for structural applications in the coastal environment
  • High-fidelity aero-hydro-elastic modelling of offshore wind turbines in extreme conditions
The closing date for applications is 12:00 noon on 31 May 2019. Please address any enquiries to the designated Director of Studies nominated on the webpage.

02 May 2019


Dayang Habibah binti Abang Ismawi Hassim successfully defended her PhD thesis, Fatigue crack growth of recycled rubber in natural/butadiene rubber blend, in a viva voce examination. Subject to some minor corrections to the thesis, the degree should be awarded in due course. The studies were sponsored by the Malaysian Rubber Board and supervised by Frank Abraham, John Summerscales and Paul Brown (Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC)).

30 April 2019

Vacuum Assisted Multipoint Moulding 

Matthias Wimmer is a University of Plymouth doctoral candidate based in Munich University of Applied Sciences, supervised by Frank Abraham and locally by Christoph Maurer. The subject of his doctoral studies is the Vacuum Assisted Multipoint Moulding (VAMM: a form flexible tooling system for the production of curved CFRP parts) system which is featured in this video.

04 April 2019

IoT structural health monitoring system integrated with self-sensing concrete structures for smart cities  

Sung-Hwan Jang and Long-yuan Li will receive £95k funding from Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement in South Korea. The overall project value is £550k over three years with external partners at ENGSoft (South Korea) and Sungkyunkwan University (South Korea).

27 March 2019

InterReg SeaBioComp Research Fellow

We have an opportunity for a full-time fixed-term researcher to join the Interreg SeaBioComp project. The deadline for applications is 14 April 2019.

27 March 2019

Free download 

Sage Publications are now hosting Advanced Composites Letters, and have made all content available for free download. The Plymouth papers are:

18 March 2019


Boksun Kim has been awarded Fellowship of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

04 March 2019


Muhsin Aljuboury successfully defended his PhD thesis, The design and manufacture of a glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) bolted flange joint for oil and gas applications, today. Subject to minor corrections to the thesis the degree will be awarded in due course, The supervision team was Jahir Rizvi (DoS), Stephen Grove and Richard Cullen.

19 February 2019

PhD completion 

Hossein Mohammad Khanlou has submitted the final version of his doctoral thesis Degradation of flax PLA biocomposites during and after manufacture at Griffith University in Australia. The thesis was supervised by Wayne Hall and Peter Woodfield in Australia and by John Summerscales.

04 July 2018 

New marine composites book (20 August 2018)

Marine Composites: Design and Performance, edited by Richard Pemberton, John Summerscales and Jasper Graham-Jones, will be published by Elsevier on 03 September 2018. (PS: 28 August 2018) The book is now available on ScienceDirect.


Aitor Hernandez Michelena successfully defended his doctoral thesis, Effect of fibre treatment on the properties of natural fibre reinforced polymer composites, today. Subject to some minor corrections to the thesis, the degree should be awarded in due course. The supervision team was John Summerscales, Wayne Hall (Griffith University - Australia), Miggy Singh and Jasper Graham-Jones. The project was conducted in the Basque country under remote supervision, in collaboration with Acciona Windpower/Nordex and University of Zargoza, and with partial funding from Santander Scholarships.

19 October 2018

SeaBioComp approval

The InterReg 2 Seas | Mers | Zeën Monitoring Committee has approved funding for the SeaBioComp project led by CenTexBel. SeaBioComp looks to develop and demonstrate durable bio-based composites for a marine environment. The University of Plymouth funding is €289k from 2019 for three years. The main aim of the Plymouth involvement will be to develop in-situ polymerisation during resin infusion as a route to (bio-based) thermoplastic matrix (recyclable) composites for marine use.

28 January 2019


Rosemarie Poad, MEng (honours) Civil Engineering Stage 5 and Student Ambassador, has won the South West Women in Construction (SWWIC) Graduate Award 2017.

26 February 2018

PhD studentship: Self-Sensing and Energy-Harvesting (SSEH)

Composite Materials for Coastal Infrastructure 

Applications were invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 01 October 2018. 

Closing date was 09 April 2018.

26 March 2018

ACMC becomes Composites Engineering 

The University of Plymouth has reverted to trading under the name of the legal entity. Coincident with that change, after just over 30 years as Advanced Composites Manufacturing Centre, ACMC is in transition to Composites Engineering to reflect diversification of interests.

01 May 2018

Marine aging of polymers 

Peter Davies (IFREMER) and John Summerscales have received approval to organise EUROMECH Colloquium 607 'Marine aging of polymers'. This series of prestigious events is hosted by the European Mechanics Society. The meeting will be held in Brest, France during 26-30 August 2019.

24 June 2018

Composite Materials and Structures for Engineering Students 

Our former colleague, Stephen Grove, has published a book with the above title which is available via Amazon.

03 July 2018

4th International Conference on Natural Fibers (ICNF2019) 

The 4th International Conference on Natural Fibers – Smart Sustainable Solutions will be held in Porto, Portugal during 01-03 July 2019. John Summerscales is a member of the scientific committee.

11 July 2018

Composites curriculum development in China

John Summerscales presented 'Education and curriculum design for composites in the UK' to an Education and Training Committee (E&TC) set up during the 3rd China International Congress on Composite Materials (CCCM-3) in Hangzhou in October 2017. JS has now been invited by the committee chairman to become a member of the E&TC. “The main task of this committee is to discuss the issue of the Discipline Construction [curriculum development] in China Composite Materials and Engineering. The main topics include Construction of Teaching material, Teaching Reform and Teaching quality assessment standard, etc. Members of the committee are well-known experts and professors who major in advanced composite materials in China”.

11 December 2017


Colin Hague has joined the team as the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate on the Mobile Quick Cure Repair (MQCR) project with Alan Harper Composites Limited. Achille Ferrante from L'Università degli Studi di Camerino, Italy will be with us for 13 weeks as an Erasmus+ intern.

22 January 2018


Dr Sung-Hwan Jang has been awarded a £30k Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant (T-TRIG) from the Department for Transport to run from March to August 2018. The title is 'Breathing life into transport infrastructure: Development of a hydrophobic, freezing temperature sensing, and self-heating road coating system.'  The project aims to develop smart coating materials for sensing icy conditions and initiating self-heating surfaces to increase drivers and passengers safety in winter transport roads usage 

01 March 2018

Composites curriculum development

John Summerscales and Jasper Graham-Jones are co-investigators on a new HEFCE Catalyst Funding project with University of Bristol/National Composites Centre (NCC) to plan together a more sustainable routemap for composites curriculum development. The project will collaborate with the industrial partners of the NCC (a High Value Manufacturing Catapult hosted by the University of Bristol), to fund the curriculum design and development of innovative master’s level work-based learning in composites design and manufacturing.

6 December 2017

Composite Materials Discovery Room 

Marine-i will host a Discovery Room event: Composite materials – sector challenges and opportunities for innovation in St Austell on Monday 30 April 2018. This free-to-attend event will follow three themes: sector opportunities, regional expertise and end of life/recyclability of materials. More information.

13 April 2018


Dr Sung-Hwan Jang has joined the civil and structural engineering team. He was formerly with Delft University of Technology.

01 September 2017

Stephen Grove 

Dr Stephen Grove has today retired from his full-time post as Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer), after over thirty years at the University. We wish him well in his retirement, although he will return as a (part-time) Associate Lecturer.

27 September 2017

KTP Associate – Composites Development Engineer

We are seeking a talented Mechanical Engineer, Composites Engineer or Material Scientist or similar with significant composites experience to work on a joint project under Knowledge Transfer Partnership, between Alan Harper Composites and the University of Plymouth. The key objective of this role is to develop and commercialise a range of innovative composite repair kit solutions that are quick, simple and safe to use in a variety of environments. Find out more information about the role

20 November 2017

Degree Apprenticeships 

The University of Plymouth now offers two Degree Apprenticeships:

specifically designed to help upskill current workforce, with an aim to integrate academic learning at undergraduate degree level with practical application in the workplace. To talk to someone about our Degree Apprenticeship offerings, please ask them to get in touch with the Enterprise Solutions Service or call 0800 052 5600.

13 September 2017


Ewen Le Roux and Yves Henry from The University of Western Brittany (Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UBO Brest) have joined the team for a two month internship hosted by Richard Cullen and Richard Pemberton.

11 April 2017

Richard Pitwon PhD 

Richard Pitwon had his viva voce examination today for a PhD with the title 'Pluggable optical connector interfaces for electro-optical circuit boards'. The outcome was Pass subject to minor corrections. Congratulations!

31 March 2017 

Two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships awarded

Richard Pemberton and Roberto Fraquelli have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Red Paddle.

John Summerscales and Richard Cullen have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Alan Harper Composites Limited.

Further information will be released when the recruitment details have been finalised.

29 September 2017

TRAC,Taylor-made Recycled Aggregate Concrete project

Shanshan Cheng (PI), Long-yuan Li and Boksun Kim have been awarded €450k (€117k to University of Plymouth) for a project on TRAC, Taylor-made Recycled Aggregate Concrete (H2020-MSCA-RISE-2017 project 777823) to run between 01 July 2018 and 30 June 2022.

18 October 2017

Vlad Zamoroskii MPhil

Graduate School have confirmed that Vlad Zamoroskii may now be awarded Master of Philosophy, subject to depositing the final version of the e-thesis on PEARL. The thesis title is “Composite materials filled with ferromagnetic microwire inclusions demonstrating microwave response to temperature and tensile stress”. 

The research was supervised by John Summerscales, Dmitriy Makhnovskiy (SoCM) and Mansel Davies (SoCM).

29 March 2017


Sam Thorpe has joined the team as Technician (Materials and Structures).

16 October 2017

Visiting PhD student

Mr Qinwei Ding is a third year PhD student from Shanghai University of Science and Technology visiting us from October 2017 for one year. His doctoral research topic is dynamic response of floating wind turbine structures.

10 October 2017


Guillaume Kerhino from The University of Southern Brittany (Université de Bretagne Sud, Lorient) has joined the team for a ten week internship hosted by John Summerscales.

20 March 2017


Mr Jie Ji has joined MAST as a research degree candidate to study fatigue analysis of reinforced concrete in the marine environment.

01 October 2017


John Summerscales is now Professor of Composites Engineering.

01 August 2017

Pedagogic Research and Teaching Innovation (PRTI) project

Asiya Khan, Richard Pemberton and Priska Schoenborn have been awarded £6500 for a project to study “Delivering Impact via Student Research: Sharing Best Practice”.

18 March 2017

Keynote lecture at the sixth International Conference on Recent Advances in Composite Materials

John Summerscales has been invited to present a Keynote Lecture at the sixth International Conference on Recent Advances in Composite Materials (ICRACM-2019) in Varanasi - India during 25-28 February 2019. 

The conference will celebrate the Centenary Year of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and of the Indian Institute of Technology/Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi.

16 March 2017

Keynote speech at International Conference on Innovative Natural Fibre Composites for Industrial Applications

John Summerscales has been invited to present a Keynote Speech, 'Allocation in the life cycle assessment (LCA) of flax fibres for the reinforcement of composites', at the 6th International Conference on Innovative Natural Fibre Composites for Industrial Applications (ICINFCIA) in Rome from 5 to 6 October 2017. 

17 March 2017

ICCM21 Track 6.2 Processing-Manufacturing Techniques

John Summerscales, Byung Chul Kim (Bristol ACCIS) and Gangadhara Prusty (UNSW) will lead the above Track at the 21st International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM21) to be held in Xi'an (China) from 20 to 25 August 2017.

13 January 2017