Carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites, offer an advanced solution combining high performance with lightweight and environmental resistance. Continuous fibre composites are associated with limited recyclability, which is linked predominantly with the fibre form. State of the art composites recycling methods recover fibres in the form of short lengths which means that the recycled material cannot be re-used in the original application. This makes the composites industry inherently not circular.

The Composites and Advanced Materials Centre at Cranfield has recently developed a layer-by-layer strategy of composites manufacturing that can be combined with automated fibre placement following curved paths to limit the number of fibre cuts required during manufacturing.

Based on this development, this project will develop an un-manufacturing strategy that achieves recovery of fibre in their continuous form. The activities involved in the project will focus on development, optimisation and implementation of a fibre detachment method, design for manufacture targeting minimisation of cuts used in manufacturing and re-manufacturing trials and associated mechanical characterisation. The work will involve experimental, practical and simulation effort and lead to a validation use case from the hydrogen storage sector.

Successful completion of this research will result in a new paradigm in composites design and manufacture that will enable full circularity. This will potentially shift industrial practice towards a sustainable solution unlocking the full potential of composite materials.

The work will make full use of facilities within the Composites and Advanced Materials Centre comprising pilot scale composites manufacturing equipment including a filament winding setup that will be used for implementation of the un-manufacturing strategy, a thermal and thermo-mechanical characterisation suite, as well as the Mechanical Testing Lab in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing. systems will provide access to specialised equipment required for parts of the research. A leading supplier of fibre placement systems will provide access to specialised equipment required for parts of the research.

At a glance

  • Application deadline15 May 2024
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date30 Sep 2024
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK, EU, Rest of world
  • Reference numberSATM406

Entry requirements

Applicants should have an equivalent of first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science/Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Physics, Chemical Engineering or related discipline. The candidates should be self-motivated, have good communication skills, and an interest in 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 Alex Skordos