Fibre reinforced composites have excellent in plane strength and stiffness and are being used in increasing quantities in aerospace, sports, automotive and wind turbine blade industries. However fibre reinforced composites are weak in their through thickness direction. This weakness can result in parts failing by delamination in service, either from external loads or impact events. The presence of a delamination can seriously reduce the strength and stiffness of a laminate especially under compressive buckling loads, potentially leading to catastrophic failure.

We have developed new generation of multi-scale composites using graphene/nanoparticles reinforcement in glass/carbon epoxy composites to increase the delamination resistance. Graphene/nanoparticles, due to its nano dimension, can reinforce the polymer matrix at nanoscale level where the carbon/glass fibres cannot reach. Our research shows that nanoscale reinforcement of polymer matrix used in glass/carbon fibre composites significantly reduces crack propagation in composites, reduce failure due to delamination and significantly improves fracture toughness [Williams et al, Journal of Materials Science 48, 3, 1005-1013, 2013]. In addition it can also increases the electrical conductivity of composites.

As a part of this research project we will develop joint UK projects with aerospace, automotive, marine, and wind turbine manufacturers to implement use of multi-scale composites which can offer the significant advantages for the composites products used in their industries.

The use of such multi-scale composites for aircraft components will be explored using the composites manufacturing, carbon nanotube manufacturing and the aerospace and airport research facilities at the school of Aerospace Transport and Manufacturing at Cranfield University.

At a glance

  • Application deadline03 Apr 2024
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date03 Sep 2024
  • Duration of award4 year
  • EligibilityUK, EU, Rest of World
  • Reference numberSATM404


Dr Sameer S Rahatekar and Prof Krzysztof K Koziol, Composites and Advanced Materials Centre, Cranfield University, UK

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an equivalent of first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders, with an interest for industrial research.


This is a self-funded research opportunity. Find out more about tuition fees.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

If you are eligible to apply for this research opportunity, please complete the online application form.

For further information please contact Dr. Sameer S Rahatekar
T: +44 (0)1234 750111 extension 4685