CerTest Independent Advisory Board and Industrial Steering Group Meeting, 17 April 2024 in Southampton

On April 17th 2024, the CerTest team met with the Independent Advisory Board (IAB) and the Industrial Steering Group (ISG) for a fantastic day of presenting the project’s research goals and achievements along with in-depth discussions about CerTest methodologies and next steps, including what comes after CerTest . Presentations and posters were made by CerTest researchers and PhD students covering the work going into each of the project’s four research challenges, as well as the interactions and joint activities.

The CerTest team presented a complete vision for the project, and for the first time a holistic depiction of what the CerTest methodology for performance validation and ultimately certification will encompass, and how it is different from the current building block approach. Essentially, a road map towards certification by analysis or digital certification was outlined. The presentations were very well received by the representatives from the IAB and ISG including cross sector industry stakeholder and the funder EPSRC. The day was topped off with an evening dinner reception that concluded a very enjoyable day for all.

A seated audience looking at a presentation screen A seated audience looking at a presentation screen

Information on ChatGPT for PDRA’s

This is a short communication for PDRAs about the use of ChatGPT, an A.I. natural language model.

  1. What is ChatGPT?

An overview of ChatGPT, a state-of-the-art language model developed by OpenAI. ChatGPT is based on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture, which enables it to understand and generate human-like text responses. It has been trained on a diverse range of internet text and demonstrates impressive capabilities in various natural language processing tasks, including chat-based conversations.


  1. Features and Capabilities

ChatGPT builds upon the success of previous models, incorporating advancements in neural network architecture, training methodology, and dataset curation.

  • Natural Language Understanding (NLU): ChatGPT exhibits strong NLU capabilities, allowing it to comprehend and interpret user inputs effectively.
  • Contextual Generation: By considering the context of the conversation, ChatGPT generates responses that are coherent and contextually appropriate.
  • Flexible Conversational Style: ChatGPT can adapt its conversational style to match user preferences, ranging from formal to casual language.
  • Multi-turn Dialogue Support: It can maintain context over multiple user turns, providing coherent and consistent responses.
  • Task Completion: ChatGPT can perform a wide range of tasks, such as answering questions, providing recommendations, offering explanations, and engaging in creative writing.
  • Language Translation: With its language generation capabilities, ChatGPT can assist in translating text from one language to another.


  1. Applications for PDRAs
  • Literature Review and Knowledge Extraction: ChatGPT can assist in the initial stages of research by summarising research papers, extracting key information, and highlighting relevant findings. This can save significant time and effort in conducting comprehensive literature reviews.
  • Idea Generation and Exploration: Postdocs can use ChatGPT as a brainstorming tool, generating new research ideas, and exploring different approaches, and refining their hypotheses. The model can provide diverse perspectives and suggest alternative angles to explore.
  • Collaborative Writing and Editing: ChatGPT can aid in writing and editing research manuscripts, grant proposals, and other academic documents. It can suggest sentence structures, correct grammar and spelling errors, and offer stylistic suggestions, thereby enhancing the clarity and readability of the text.
  • Data Analysis and Visualization: ChatGPT can assist postdocs in analysing research data by providing guidance on statistical techniques, data visualization, and interpretation of results. It can help identify patterns, correlations, and potential insights within the data.
  • Knowledge Expansion: ChatGPT can answer questions and provide information on a wide range of topics, allowing postdocs to expand their knowledge beyond their specific research domain. This can facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and broaden their perspectives.
  • Experimental Design and Methodology: ChatGPT can offer suggestions on experimental design, methodology selection, and sample size determination. It can provide insights into potential limitations and offer recommendations to optimize research protocols.
  • Teaching and Mentorship: Postdocs often engage in teaching and mentorship activities. ChatGPT can provide support by generating lesson plans, suggesting teaching materials, and offering guidance on effective mentoring strategies.


  1. Strengths
  • Language Fluency: ChatGPT excels in generating human-like responses that are contextually relevant and linguistically coherent.
  • Broad Knowledge Base: Due to its training on diverse internet text, ChatGPT possesses a wide range of factual knowledge on various topics.
  • Contextual Understanding: It can maintain context across multiple turns, leading to more accurate and meaningful responses.
  • Improved User Experience: ChatGPT’s conversational abilities enable a more engaging and interactive experience for users.


  1. Limitations
  • Lack of Common Sense Reasoning: ChatGPT may sometimes provide answers that are factually correct but lack common sense or fail to grasp the implicit meaning behind a question.
  • Sensitive Content Generation: In some cases, ChatGPT may generate responses that are biased, offensive, or inappropriate due to its exposure to biased or toxic content during training.
  • Difficulty in Clarification: If a user provides ambiguous or incomplete information, ChatGPT might struggle to seek clarification and may respond with nonspecific answers.


However, it’s important to exercise critical thinking and validate information from trusted sources. While ChatGPT can provide valuable insights, it should not replace human expertise, thorough peer review, or domain-specific knowledge.

If you have any queries relating to the use of ChatGPT, or any general queries please contact: composites-institute@bristol.ac.uk

CoSEM CDT and BCI PhD students visit AIRTeC

Our CoSEM CDT and BCI PhD students were invited to attend a site visit at the AIRTeC site in Filton, Bristol on 12th April. The morning visit consisted of presentations to students showcasing Airbus products, the Wing of Tomorrow and Airbus composite research, along with a tour of the Wing Development Centre. Students also had the opportunity to network over lunch.

Group photo of students outside the entrance of Airbus

Thank you to all at Airbus for inviting the students and providing such an interesting and informative visit.

EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub: CIMComp

The future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub will be submitting an outline bid for a new Hub, in the current EPSRC call for Manufacturing research hubs for a sustainable future. Its bid will focus on next generation composites manufacturing, to cover sustainability, economic viability and durability in challenging physical environments. The proposal will set out to meet the following industry-led research challenges: Environmental challenges of recycling, re-use of materials, reduction in embodied energy and emissions, reduction in use of non-renewables and materials that support manufacture; Economic challenges of manufacture at competitive costs to meet rate of customer demand; Engineering and scientific challenges in the design space for sustainable manufacture of high-quality, complex geometries over a range of length scales and requirements to meet extreme environments of high stress, high endurance, high to low (cryogenic) temperature, high pressure, and high erosion resistance requirements, for current and emerging applications; Educational challenge of meeting training requirements of future composites manufacturing engineers.

There are a multitude of industrial benefits to join the Composites Manufacturing Hub network, both in the final year of the current Hub and to raise your future industrial challenges to shape the new bid. There are several ways to engage, depending on your business needs:

  • Opportunity to co-develop and sponsor/co-sponsor a Hub project (feasibility study or core project)
  • Receive cutting-edge input into your R&D from a Hub academic, and develop collaborative research ideas
  • Sponsor a doctoral student (PhD/EngD) to work on your R&D
  • Engage with an academic partner on a collaborative research proposal/project (EPSRC, Innovate UK project, Horizon Europe etc.)
  • Access to facilities, including high performance computing and workshops/laboratories
  • Participate and contribute to a scale-up trial
  • Receive Hub quarterly newsletter
  • Attend Hub Open Days (for an update on Hub research, exhibit and network with the community)

For more information, feel free to contact Simon.Quinn@bristol.ac.uk, James.Whyman@nottingham.ac.uk, Joanne.Eaves1@nottingham.ac.uk, or your existing Hub contact.

Ca-pow! Capture, evaluate, and improve: Co-creating a Cycle of Empowerment for Underrepresented Groups

Bristol Composites Institute academic, Dr Neha Chandarana, in collaboration with academics from the Faculties of Engineering, Social Sciences & Law, and Life Sciences (Fig. 1), has been awarded £100k from the Royal Academy of Engineering Diversity Impact Programme for an 18-month project. Through discussions with students and staff at the university, from engineering, the social sciences, education, and central teams responsible for student experience, student voice, and student inclusion, Neha and the team have worked to embed co-creation at the core of ca-pow!

Ca-pow logo

The project, titled ‘Capture, evaluate, and improve: co-creating a cycle of empowerment for underrepresented groups’ will develop a means to capture, understand, and support intersectional students to overcome alienating educational experiences. The planned activities are split into three workstreams (WS) called ‘capture’, ‘evaluate’, and ‘improve’.

WS1 Capture: This workstream will capture quantitative and qualitative data about the journeys and experience of undergraduate engineering students. The research will be undertaken by recruited undergraduates from engineering and supported by postgraduate ‘mentors’ from the Schools of Education and Psychological Science. Co-created broad-reaching surveys will be complemented by focus groups and interviews to further understand the experiences of intersectional students.

WS2 Evaluate: On this workstream, recruited undergraduates from engineering will work closely with the Faculty of Engineering widening participation* (WP) team to evaluate , with a view to understanding how well they support different intersections of the local community. We will make use of higher education access tracker (HEAT) data and surveys to evaluate the impact of WP and outreach and deliver recommendations for future activities.

WS3 Improve: The activities in this workstream are centred around academic personal tutoring. We will implement peer tutor networks from September 2023, to connect undergraduate engineering students with peers from their programmes. In parallel, training material will be co-created by recruited undergraduates and Matt Jacobs from Wide Open Voices, to be delivered to personal tutors during the project.

Graphic of Ca-pow! academic investigator team

Figure 1. Ca-pow! academic investigator team


Contact information:

To find out more about ca-pow! please feel free to contact us by emailing ca-pow@bristol.ac.uk

The project is led by Dr Neha Chandarana, Dr Anna Baker, Dr Susanne Quadflieg, Dr Maria Tsapali, and Dr Nicola Warren-Lee

More information

*Link to the UK government’s widening participation strategy

The RAE Diversity Impact Programme aims to inspire change in university engineering departments so that all students succeed and the unique perspectives and experiences of engineers from diverse backgrounds continue to enhance the profession. Diversity Impact Programme (raeng.org.uk)





BCI Volunteers Help Bristol Youth Club

A group of volunteers from the BCI and ILO recently spent a day painting the sports hall at Stockwood Youth Club in preparation for a new mural to be painted on it by a local artist. The club, which is run by the charity Young Bristol, supports children across the city by providing them with safe and inclusive environments where they can take part in a range of creative and sporting activities. Young Bristol relies solely on donations and grants, so by painting the hall we were able to save them a significant amount of money they may have struggled to raise themselves. Well done to everyone for your hard work!

Group photo of the volunteers at Young Bristol youth club

Four members of the BCI in the Young Bristol sports hall

Volunteers painting a sports hall


Key Strategic Appointments to Enable Net Zero Future

Reaching net zero is key to tackling the global climate emergency and composite materials, with their unique properties, will play a fundamental role in enabling a net zero future to be achieved. The University of Bristol and the National Composite Centre (NCC) have strengthened their partnership with the appointment of three leading figures from the composite materials sector, to help enable a net zero future for the UK. Professor Ian Hamerton of the Bristol Composites Institute (BCI) has been appointed as NCC Chair in Sustainable Polymers and Composites, and from the NCC, Dr Enrique Garcia, Chief Technology Officer, and Dr Tim Young, Head of Sustainability, have been made Visiting Industrial Professors of BCI.

Bringing a combined experience of over 60-years in the development of composite materials, the trio will work closely to further strengthen the collaboration between the two institutions, delivering new joint initiatives across sustainability and digital engineering, including recycling of composites, sustainable composite material systems and processes, new material systems for hydrogen storage, and digital twinning covering the range from manufacturing processes to in-service and operations. If you would like to engage with BCI and NCC on this topic, please contact us at: composites-institute@bristol.ac.uk

NCC Logo BCI Logo Square


Bristol Composites Institute at ECCM20

We are pleased to announce an impressive line up of academics, researchers and PhD students from the Bristol Composites Institute (BCI) who will be presenting their latest work at ECCM 20 (the 20th European Conference on Composite Materials) in Lausanne, Switzerland from 26th to 30th June 2022.

This year’s conference is on the theme of “Composites meet Sustainability” and we will highlight our commitment toward sustainability across a range of activities spanning academic research, industrial collaborations and education programmes.

Our Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in Composites Manufacture is also hosting a special session! The IDC aims to provide the UK composites manufacturing industry with Research Engineers equipped with the necessary advanced technical and leadership skills required for effective adoption of new knowledge and technologies in composites manufacture. For more details and informal discussion please contact Professor Janice Barton (janice.barton@bristol.ac.uk) at booth #6 during the conference. Details of speakers at the session can be found here.


Monday 27 June BCI speaker line-up:

Garden 1 / 11:30 – speaker: Nguyen DUC (62031). Title: Real-time Material Measurement for Automated Fibre Placement.

Garden 4 / 11:30 – speaker: Mudan CHEN (61809). Title: Experimental study on the mechanical
behaviour of carbon-fibre Z-pin reinforced curved composite laminates under four-point bending.

Garden 3 / 12:45 – speaker: Ganapathi AMMASAI SENGODAN (61675). Title: Hygro-thermal effects on the translaminar fracture toughness of composite laminates.

Garden 8 / 15:30 – speaker: Athina Kontopoulou (61936). Title: Shape and Size Optimization of Additive Manufactured Lattice Cores with an Evolutionary-Based Approach for High Performance Sandwich Panels.

Garden 4 / 17:00 – speaker Chantal LEWIS (61681). Title: An investigation into the performance is ADFRC produced with HiPerDiF 3G.

Garden 4 / 17:15 – speaker: Gustavo QUINO (61865). Title: Design of a bending experiment for mechanical characterisation of pultruded rods under compression.

Garden 6 / 17:15 – speaker: Roy BULLOCK (61961). Title: Ply Orientation Effects in Multidirectional Carbon/ Epoxy Open-Hole Specimens Subjected to Shear Loading.

Garden 7 / 18:30 – speaker: Xiaoyang SUN (61857). Title: An Experimental Study of Crack Propagation in Stiffened Over-height Compact Tension (SOCT) Specimens.

Garden 6 / 18:45 – speaker: Neha CHANDARANA (62343). Title: Damage characterisation in open-hole composites using acoustic emission and finite element, validated by X-ray CT.


Tuesday 28 June BCI speaker line-up:
Garden 10 / 10:30 – speaker: Pedro GALVEZ-HERNANDEZ (61642). Title:  Uncured out-of-autoclave composite prepregs characterizations via deep learning.

Garden 8 / 11:45 – speaker: Tobias LAUX (62344). Title: Hybrid testing for composite substructures.

Keynote Lecture 4 / 14:00 – speaker: Prof. Ivana Partridge. Title: Toughening approaches in composites – a perspective.

Garden 5 / 14:30 – speaker: Aewis HII (62521). Title: Development of a Concurrent Multi-scale Analysis Framework using Shell Elements for the Progressive Failure Analysis of Composites.

Garden 9 / 14:30 – speaker: Joseph SOLTAN (62424). Title: Modular Infusion: Novel Approaches to Segregation and Control of Flow Fronts Within Liquid Resin Moulding.

Garden 9 / 14:45 – speaker: Laura Rhian PICKARD (62302).Title: Manufacturing Advances for Pultruded Rod Based Structural Members and Thick Ply Systems.

Garden 7 / 17:30 – speaker: Antonio MELRO (62388). Title: Modelling delamination resistance of
composite laminates reinforced with novel z-pins through an energy-equivalent bridging map

Garden 1 / 18:00 –  speaker: Axel WOWOGO (61636). Title: Influence of Automated Fibre Placement processing parameters on the consolidation of out-of-autoclave prepreg.

Garden 9 / 18:15 – speaker: Janice BARTON (62222). Title: A new test for validating models of lightning strike damage on CFRP laminates.

Garden 10 / 18:15 – speaker: Narongkorn KRAJANGSAWASDI (61680). Title: Highly Aligned Discontinuous Fibre Composite Filaments for Fused Deposition Modelling: Comparison between printed and lay-up open-hole sample.


Wednesday 29 June BCI line-up:

Garden 4 / 10:15 – speaker: Ali KANDEMIR (61786). Title: Interfacial shear strength of flax fibre with sustainable matrices.

Garden 4 / 10:30 – speaker: Stephen Hallett (61654). Title: :Novel Z-pin Technologies for Through Thickness Reinforcements.

Garden 5 / 10:30 – speaker Xun WU (61812). Title: Improved Energy Absorption of Novel Hybrid Configurations Under Static Indentation

Garden 7 / 11:45 – speaker: Ram KARTHIK RAMAKRISHNAN (66298). Title: Combined DIC-Infrared thermography for high strain rate testing of composites.

Garden 7 / 14:30 – speaker: Eduardo SANTANA DE VEGA (62438). Title: Improving the mode II delamination bridging performance of fibrous composite Z-pins.

Garden 4 / 17:00 – Ogun YAVUZ BURAK (62348). Title: Tensile characterisation of HiPerDiF PLA/Carbon fibre tape under processing conditions.

Garden 5 / 18:00 – speaker: Anatoly Koptelov (61710). Title: A novel closed-loop testing framework for decoding consolidation deformation mechanisms in manufacturing.

Poster session – David LANGSTON (62605). Title: Torsional Testing of Wind Turbine Blades.


Thursday 30 June BCI speaker line-up:

Garden 7 / 08:30 – speaker: Katherine NELMS (62050). Title: Effect of fiber microstructure on kinking in unidirectional fiber reinforced composites imaged in real time under axial compression.

Garden 8 / 08:45 – speaker: Ole THOMSEN (62400). Title: Validation of Composite Aerostructures through Integrated Multi-Scale Modelling and High-Fidelity Substructure Testing Facilitated by Design of Experiments and Bayesian learning.

Campus A / 09:00 – speaker: Rafael Ruiz Iglesias (62267). Title: Surface and subsurface damage assessment of multi[1]directional composite laminates utilizing a full field imaging technique.

Campus A / 09:45 – speaker: Geir Olafsson (61847). Title: Assessment of complex structural scale composite structures by adapting thermoelastic stress analysis for 3D perspective imaging.


Don’t miss the latest news and updates from the ECCM Conference via the Bristol Composites Institute Twitter account: ‎@UoBrisComposite!


IDC Special Session at ECCM20

The Industrial Doctorate Centre (IDC) in Composites Manufacture are thrilled to announce a special session at ECCM 20 (the 20th European Conference on Composite Materials) in Lausanne, Switzerland from 26th to 30th June 2022.

The IDC aims to provide the UK composites manufacturing industry with Research Engineers equipped with the necessary advanced technical and leadership skills required for effective adoption of new knowledge and technologies in composites manufacture. For more details and informal discussion please contact Professor Janice Barton (janice.barton@bristol.ac.uk) at booth #6 during the conference. Details of speakers at the session can be found below:

Tuesday 28th June from 14.30 to 18.00

  1. Speaker: Zoe FIELDEN-STEWART (62613). Title: Mode I ice adhesion of a commercial cyanate ester and a corresponding polymer blend
  2. Speaker: Bethany GRIMES (62611). Title: Braiding Characterisation and Optimisation
  3. Speaker: Jack HOLYOAK (62607). Title: Manufacturing Advanced Structural Composites from Sustainable Prepreg Material.
  4. Speaker: Robbie HERRING (62595). Title: Leading Edge Erosion of Wind Turbine Blades: An Investigation into Translating Test Results to In-situ Performance.
  5. Speaker: Anastasios DANEZIS (62589). Title: Real time remote approximation of nip point temperatures in automated tape placement.
  6. Speaker: Claudia JIMENEZ MARTIN (62585). Title: Forming of complex aerostructures for next generation aircraft wings.
  7. Speaker: Joseph SOLTAN (62619). Title: Modular Infusion: Novel Approaches to Segregation and Control of Flow Fronts Within Liquid Resin Moulding.
  8. Speaker: Huw EDWARDS (62616). Title: The effect of test parameters on the microcracking behaviour of carbon composite laminates during cryogenic conditioning.
  9. Speaker: Lachlan WILLIAMS (62609). Title: Development of Forming Simulation Capabilities for use in Large-Scale Next-Generation Composite Aerospace Structures.
  10. Speaker: Philip DRUIFF (62598). Title: Towards data-driven automated fibre placement with computer aided manufacturing in the loop.
  11. Speaker: William DARBY (62596). Title: Warpage Prediction for Large Thermoplastic Composite Overmoulded Aerostructures.
  12. Speaker: Patrick SULLIVAN (62593). Title: Reducing the length of recycled carbon fibres to improve dispersion behaviour and enable highly aligned carbon fibre materials.
  13. Speaker: Michael EDWARDS (61971). Title: Development of a “Digital Twin” of the Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) of LM-PAEK Thermoplastic Composite using a Pulsed Xenon Flashlamp Heat Source.

Don’t miss the latest news and updates from the ECCM Conference via the Bristol Composites Institute Twitter account: ‎@UoBrisComposite!


NextCOMP Next Generation Fibre-Reinforced Composites

A Full Scale Redesign for Compression

NextCOMP is a 5 year £6.2m UKRI funded Programme Grant which began in July 2020 led by Professor Milo Shaffer at Imperial College London and Professor Richard Trask at University of Bristol, with numerous academic and industrial partners.

It focuses on improving the performance of composite materials in compression, looking to nature’s hierarchical composites such as wood and bone for inspiration as these perform particularly well in compression.  The NextCOMP  team are investigating and developing a new generation of synthetic hierarchical composites, with work being undertaken across 6 different but interrelated work streams.

NextCOMP researchers speculate that the new generation of hierarchical composites they develop will perform significantly better in compression than traditional composites. Discoveries made in NextCOMP could open further opportunities for advancing development of this new generation of composites to aid in solving  existing and future design challenges.

NextCOMP researchers in Bristol Composites Institute lab

The knowledge and commercial experience of the influential industrial partners involved in the project feeds into the research being undertaken by the team to maximise its impact and relevance in industry.  Our partners include Hexcel, Solvay, Victrex, Thomas Swan, The National Composites Centre, Centre for Processing, Airbus, BAE Systems, DSTL, GKN Aerospace and Vestas.

Academic partners University of Vienna and Deakin University along with academics from our External Advisory Board, namely Prof Veronique Michaud, Prof Leif Asp, Prof Ignaas Verpoest and Prof Joanna Aizenburg, are collaborating with us and provide scientific guidance and support to enable NextCOMP to fulfil its aims and objectives.

Some of the NextCOMP team

The NextCOMP team have numerous activities planned in the forthcoming months including an industry focused workshop, academic presentations and public engagement activities. We have several years remaining on the programme so expect to see and hear much more!