The growing concerns of global warming and the depleting non-renewable natural resources such as fossil fuels have brought to fore technologies in the Low Carbon Vehicles area. 

Sustainable manufacturing technologies have resulted in reviewing bio-materials for use in road transport. However, swapping traditional manufacturing techniques and materials (metals) with bio-composites has complications. 

We are leading this transition in vehicle transport through state-of-the-art research in the area of bio-sourced composites to be used in structural applications in vehicles, e.g. body-in-white. We are also involved in projects dealing with all aspects of lifecycle of low carbon material technologies, from organic polymer synthesis to safety and health hazards regulations pertaining to the use of nano-composites.

We have considerable experience with working with industry, ranging from Formula 1 teams to low volume manufacturers.

Research partners include EPSRC, FP7 – European Union and TSB. Business partners include Aston Martin, Caterham, Ginetta, Mercedes AMG Petronas, McLaren F1, Redbull Racing, Renault F1, Suilven Racing, Tiger Racing and Williams F1.

Our facilities

Material Testing

Capability to perform coupon level, component and full-scale vehicle testing at quasi static, in addition to dynamic (high strain rate) characterisation, using Hopkinson Bar, Taylor Cylinder and Plate impact tests.

Key facilities include:
• Full scale torsional testing rig (chassis testing)
• Digital Image Correlation for non-contact strain measurement
• Range of Instron Test Machines and environmental chamber to undertake quasi-static, fatigue and low/high temperature testing
• Compression Hopkinson Bars
• One stage gas gun
• Scanning equipment (surface imperfections, voids in composites, etc.).

Numerical Methods Development

Provide research and consultancy in a range of commercial codes, in addition to development of in-house meshless code that is coupled with DYNA3D, which enables new material models/code improvements to be directly implemented.

Key capabilities include:
• Development and implementation of new elements and contact algorithms. LLNL-DYNA3D is the prime development platform
• Methods development for mesh free continuum mechanics methods including the Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) method
• Development of improved or new constitutive and damage models for transient and static analysis
• Thermodynamically consistent damage and failure models for metals and composites
• Implementation of models in computer codes, including as user material models in commercial codes.

Working with us

We have extensive experience working with industry to investigate complex, engineering problems, either through collaborative research projects, or through consultation.

All research/consultancy work undertaken is subject to Non-Disclosure Agreements in place, in order to protect intellectual property (IP) of the company involved.

• Structural analysis and testing
• Crashworthiness
• Material and structural response to impact
• Material modelling and characterisation
• Bio-composites.


• Numerical methods development
• Material modelling and characterisation
• Novel structural concepts
• Structural health monitoring
• Multi-disciplinary optimisation
• Impact testing
• Vibration analysis.

With our testing capabilities, we can provide characterisation of materials to support product development, or to improve numerical prediction through simulation and subsequent optimisation.

From a numerical point of view, we have access to a range of commercial codes, which are available to businesses through research projects. This ensures we maintain compatibility and consistency in model development, analyses and results.

We can support research/consultancy for next generation lightweight materials and is a significant strength and desirable from an industry point of view.