The challenge is to make composites conduct electricity and heat in the through-thickness direction similarly to how metals can by embedding special conductive pins into them.
  • Dates1st September 2023 to 31st August 2028
  • SponsorRoyal Academy of Engineering
  • Funded£625,000
  • PartnersUniversity of Southampton, Laser Additive Solutions, National Composites Centre

Composite materials are seen as essential for achieving Net Zero because they allow extreme lightweighting of transport and energy structures like electric cars and wind turbines. However, they generally lack additional functionality, e.g. non-structural properties like conductivity, which restricts their use in many applications. This research focuses embedding conductive pins into composites to create hybrid structures that are able to meet the materials challenges of the future more effectively.

The work will develop bespoke hybridising elements compatible with through-thickness reinforcement. Their design will provide the best combination of thermal, electrical, electromagnetic shielding performance and manufacturability. The outcomes have positive implications for increased repair and recyclability of composites and for the greater adoption of composites in non-traditional applications to allow for weight reduction.