We are pleased to announce MSc by research project in “Graphene/Nanoparticles Reinforced Multi-scale Carbon/Glass Composites for Advanced Aerospace and Automobile Engineering”. This project aims to develop high performance carbon/glass fibre composites to improve the fatigue and crack resistance of composites used in aerospace and automotive structures by nanoscale and using nanomaterials (graphene, carbon nanotubes etc.) reinforcement. Read more Read less

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 (Figure 1) to increase the delamination resistance. Graphene/nanoparticles, due to its nano dimension, can reinforce the polymer matrix at nanoscale level (see figure 1) 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 MSc by 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 following advantages for the composites products used in their industries

• Improved fracture toughness and impact resistance of composites
• Improved fatigue life of composites
• Improved compressive and shear strength/modulus of composites
• Increased vibrational damping of composites
• Improvement in electrical conductivity for electrostatic dissipation and EMI shielding
• Improvement in shear modulus of adhesive joints used for composites joining due to graphene addition
• Improvement in heat distortion temperature due to addition of graphene for auto and adhesive application
• Improvement in flexural modulus of components used for auto and aerospace applications

What will you learn during MSc Training?

The student will learn the following techniques/skills

• Nano-materials dispersion methods and nanomaterials modification of carbon/glass fibre composite laminates
• Nano-modified carbon/glass fibre composite lay-up/slacking, vacuum bagging manufacturing techniques.
• Advanced carbon/glass fibre composites manufacturing using high pressure autoclave curing
• Mechanical testing of nano-modified carbon/glass fibre composite, inter laminar shear stress testing, mode I, mode II fracture toughness test and delamination after impact test

Industrial Collaborations

We will work in collaboration with Cambridge Nanosystems, which is a world leading high quality, high performance graphene and nanoparticles synthesis and its industrial applications in engineering sectors. We will also aim to engage with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE systems and Airbus which have been working with our composite centre over number of years.

Future Job prospects

Innovative advanced composites manufacturing and testing techniques will be highly useful for job opportunities in aerospace and automotive companies like, Airbus, GKN, Rolls Royce, Red Bull (formula one team), Jaguar Land Rover and many other small and medium scale composites manufacturing for renewable energy, marine and construction industry.

At a glance

  • Application deadline15 Jul 2022
  • Award type(s)MSc by Research
  • Start date26 Sep 2022
  • Duration of award1 year
  • EligibilityUK, EU, Rest of World
  • Reference numberSATM280


Dr Sameer S Rahatekar and Prof Krzysztof K Koziol, Enhanced Composites & Structures Centre, Cranfield University, UK
Industrial Collaborator: Levidian Nanosystems Limited, Cambridge, CB5

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an equivalent of first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, science (chemistry/physics) or engineering. The ideal candidate should have some understanding in the area of materials science, mechanical engineering (or related field), manufacturing, chemistry or physics background. The candidate should be self-motivated, have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders, with an interest for industrial research.


The student needs to support the MSc by Research tuition fees (£9,000/year for UK or EU student, and £21,740/year for overseas students) and the living expenses (approximately £800-£1000 per month). The cost for running the composites manufacturing and testing experiments and facilities cost will be supported by the Enhanced Composite and Structures Centre at Cranfield.

About the sponsor

We will work in collaboration with Cambridge Nanosystems, which is a world leading high quality, high performance graphene and nanoparticles synthesis and its industrial applications in engineering sectors.

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 studentship please complete the online application form.

For further information please contact Dr. Sameer S Rahatekar
E: S.S.Rahatekar@cranfield.ac.uk,
T: +44 (0)1234 750111 extension 4685