Resources and facilities

Composites Manufacture

Our laboratories are equipped with a range of manufacturing and test equipment:

  • Aeroform autoclave (400°C, 14 bar).
  • Bipel/Bytec 40 tonne hydraulic press with hot platens up to 400°C.
  • Composite Integration Ciject® One resin injection machine for polyester or epoxy.
  • Composite Integration one-metre square glass fronted heated/cooled mould tool.
  • Vacuum and conventional ovens.
  • PhoCheck Tiger PID Datalogging Monitor Standard.
  • SNOL 9/1100 vented muffle furnace for burn-off.
  • Brookfield R/S-CPS rheometer with Peltier temperature controller.
  • Flow Mach2 water and abrasive jet cutting system (1.3 x 1.3 m work envelope).
  • UltrapierceTM assembly for composites.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business has a Formech 686 vacuum forming machine.

Mechanical testing

We can test materials and components on a range of accredited laboratory machines. 

 Test programmes can be either quick stand-alone evaluations, composites 'forensic' work, or form part of a wider programme of work involving design or optimisation. 

Our Structural Integrity Laboratory has a range of machines for tension/compression, torsion, fatigue and creep including:

  • Avery/Instron 1000 kN universal testing rig*
  • Instron 5582 screw-driven 100 kN universal test machine
  • Instron 4301 screw-driven 50 kN universal test machine
  • Instron 3345 screw-driven 500 N universal test machine
  • Instron 8501 servohydraulic 100 kN dynamic
  • Instron ElectroPuls 3000 3 kN dynamic electromagnetic fatigue machine
  • Instron MDS 666C high temperature chamber
  • Instron high temperature 4-point bend rig
  • Dantec Q-400 digital image correlation system
* The Avery/Instron 1000 kN universal (tension/compression/bending) testing machine has ~1.1 m daylight and 120 mm long wedge-action grips (for round bars up to 25 mm diameter, or 100x18 mm plate) for tension specimens; bending beam test spans can be up to 4.5m (load restricted to 500 kN at full span).

Rapid Prototyping

The Faculty has a 100 watt laser cutter/engraver with a 1 metre square bed and two Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) rapid prototyping machines compatible with STL:

  • MakerBot Replicator 2: low quality concept development machine for PLA with x-, y-, z- build Platform of 285 x 153 x 155 mm and tolerance of 0.2mm and non-soluble support material.
  • Stratasys Dimension 1200es: advanced industrial-standard Machine for ABSplus with a build area of 254 x 254 x 305 mm and 1200es BST (breakable support) or 1200es SST (soluble support).
The NextEngine laser 3D desktop scanner has these technical specifications.

Materials characterisation and non-destructive testing

  • Polymer Laboratories PL-DSC differential scanning calorimeter
  • Sovereign Quantum survey meter (FST Project Store SMB310)
  • Tramex Skipper Plus moisture meter user guide (FST Project Store SMB310)
  • NEC Avio Infrared Technologies Thermo Tracer TH7102WX
  • Olympus Panametrics Epoch LT ultrasonic flaw detector

Microscopy and surface quality assessment

The School of Marine Science and Engineering has a suite of microscopy and surface analysis equipment including:

Complementary facilities on the South West peninsula include