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Mechanics of Composite Materials Group


Mechanics of Composite Materials Group (MCM Group) at Queen Mary University London is a vibrant team led by Dr. Wei Tan. Our group focuses on the understanding, predicting and optimising the mechanical properties of composite materials. Lightweight composite materials are finding increasing applications in aerospace, automotive and energy sectors due to their high specific strength, modulus and energy absorption. Particularly, lightweight composite materials that make future vehicles and wind turbine blade lighter and damage-tolerant are particularly relevant to UK in achieving the 2040 net-zero target. The synergy of multi-phase materials often results in unique behaviour of composite materials, outperforming the single-phase constituents. We aim to reveal the deformation and failure mechanisms of composite materials by a combination of experimental, analytical and numerical approaches. This will not only address some fundamental scientific questions, but also accelerate the discovery and development of composite materials.

Research Highlights


The deformation and failure mechanisms of composite materials

Recent News


September 2022- Welcome our new PhD student: Mrs Afni Restasari. She will work on particle reinforced composites, supervised by Dr. Wei Tan and Prof. James Busfield.

September 2022- New paper from our international collaborative work with academics (Dr. Mao from BJUT and Dr. Liu from NTU). The paper title is “Modular multistable metamaterials with reprogrammable mechanical properties“, 50 days free link can be found here. In this paper, we propose an idea of modular multistable metamaterial (MMM) with reprogrammable mechanical properties, which is assembled by unit cells with tunable snap-through behaviours. See the highlight below,

September 2022- Dr Wei Tan has been promoted to Senior Lecturer at QMUL. Congratulations!

August 2022- Welcome Mr. Jie Yang to join our group! He will work on multiphysics modelling of battery degradations.

August 2022- Dr. Wei Tan has been promoted to Associate Editor for the Solid and Structural Mechanics section of Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering (Q1). Congratulations!

August 2022- Our PI (Dr. Wei Tan) has been awarded the Fellow of High Education Academy. Congratulations!

June 2022- It is great pleasure today to give an invited talk “Multiscale modelling of composite materials” at Campus Arts et Métiers de Metz (Remotely). A lot of insightful discussion with Dr. Francis Praud and his colleagues/students. The slides for this talk is available from this link.

May 2022- New paper from our group. We have presented a new global-to-local coupling strategy to achieve high-fidelity modelling of composite materials in large scale. “Modelling Pre-fatigue, Low-velocity Impact and Post-impact Fatigue Behaviours of Composite Helicopter Tail Structures under Multipoint Coordinated Loading Spectrum“. Free link for 50 days is here.

May 2022- Thanks for the invitation from Prof. Bin Niu from Dalian University of Technology. I have given a talk about “Multiscale modelling of composite materials: from load-bearing to shape-morphing”. See more details from here.

April 2022 – Thanks for the invitation from Dr. Emilio Martínez-Pañeda, I will give a talk at Imperial College about “Mechanics of composite materials: From load bearing to shape morphing”, see more details from here.

April 2022 – In the upcoming UCACM conference 2022, I will give a talk about “Multiscale modelling the fracture behaviour of composite materials”, see more details from here.

April 2022 – This year, I have supervised another two MEng group projects. Both of them are working well. In the recent industrial liason forum, one of the team is recognised as the best MEng project (poster) again. They had the chance to meet the Principal of QMUL, wow! Congratulations! Well done. See more information from the link.

April 2022 – Really pleased to meet friends, colleagues and present our work at the 18th European Mechanics of Materials Conference. Our group has given two talks. Dr Tan gave a talk “Phase field modelling of the microscopic fracture and bridging behaviours of composite materials” and Mr Kansara presented “Inverse Design of Functionally Graded Composites for Morphing Structures”.

Feb 2022 – I am glad to announce that our teaching team has been awarded the Faculty Award for Education and Student Experience. Our effort to transform the traditional engineering maths teaching has been recognised. We have greatly enhanced the student experience by flipping the classroom and using active learning with a twist – directly linking fundamental mathematical equations to solving everyday problems using computing skills. Our team included: Wei Tan, Andrew Buchan, Guang Li and Angadh Nanjangud.

January 2022 – Welcome Dr Siamak to join our group as a postdoctoral researcher from Jan 2022. He has got his PhD in the field of “new energy absorbing materials” from University of Padova in Italy and worked as a researcher at Imperial College London and University College London from 2019 to 2021.

November 2021- Congratulations! Daniel Mills (now at BAE systems) – a 2021 MEng Materials graduate – has been awarded the Royal Charter Prize of the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3). James Busfield comments that, “This is only the second time in my time at Queen Mary that one of our graduates has won this award and so we are particularly proud of Daniel’s achievement. Together with Dr Wei Tan, we supervised his MEng project last year and his group’s work has already been published in a journal paper in “Frontiers in Materials” [ https://lnkd.in/dr8Zjwbw ].

October 2021 – MCM group finally has a face-to-face meeting with all the members. Zhengqiang gave a very nice talk on his work on predicting impact damage on composite laminates.

September 2021 – Welcome Mr. Wenqi to join the MCM group as a PhD student. He will work on manufacturing and modelling of scalable cellular composites.

August 2021 – Dr. Tan will give a talk at the most prestigious conference in mechanics: 25th International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. His talk will be “The electrochemical and mechanical properties of carbon nanotube mat-polyaniline composites”, and the pre-recorded video can be found from here.

August 2021 – Welcome Hirak Kansara to join MCM group. He will work on the PhD project associated with the EPSRC grant: “Developing crashworthy cellular composites using machine learning”.

July 2021 – Dr. Tan’s group has recently published a paper on “Journal of Energy Storage” regarding the recent development of structural power composites. These composites can simultaneously carry mechanical load and store electrical energy. The developed electrodes possess up to 63% of their theoretical capacitance, and their tensile strengths are comparable to those of engineering alloys. Their specific power and specific energy lies between supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries. More details can be found from the link here.

July 2021 – Applications are invited for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Assistant to work on a three-year EPSRC project “CELLCOMP: Data-driven Mechanistic Modelling of Scalable Cellular Composites for Crash Energy Absorption”. The post is based at the Mile End Campus in London. It is full-time, with an expected start date of Oct/Nov 2021. The initial term will be 2 years with the potential to extend the appointment for up to 3 years (the project duration). Applicants will have a PhD (or be near completion) in Mechanical Engineering or a related discipline (e.g. Engineering Mechanics, Mathematics, Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, etc.). You should have knowledge and experience in solid mechanics, finite element modelling and data-driven methods. The link in the Jobs.ac.uk is here.

June 2021 – A new PhD position is available in our group. The project title is “Developing crashworthy cellular composites using machine learning”. The detail information for the position can be found from FindAPhD and QMUL.

May 2021 – MCM group has been awarded a significant grant from EPSRC to develop new, lightweight and low-cost materials for the manufacture of safer zero emission vehicles. MCM researchers at Queen Mary form a consortium in collaboration with leading experts from Imperial College London, Delft University of Technology and University of Washington and industrial partners (Q-Flo Ltd and Ultima Forma Ltd) to address the challenges in developing lightweight cellular composites for future zero emission vehicles. Together, the research team will integrate computational modelling and data-driven methods to design the architected cellular composites and ultimately, improve the crashworthiness of future vehicles. More details can be found from the link here. Job posts for a postdoctoral fellow and a PhD will be advertised soon.

April 2021 – MCM group will give three presentations in the coming UK Association for Computational Mechanics conference (UKACM2021) from 14th to 16th April 2021. Dr. Tan will give a presentation on “Phase field modelling of the microstructural fracture and bridging behaviours of composite materials”. Mr. Gomez will give a talk on “Thermo-mechanical modelling on Lithium ion battery cells” and Mr. Kansara will present our recent work on “Data-driven modelling of scalable spinodoid structures for energy absorption”. Please check the following link for the full program.

March 2021 – Our collaborative work with Sid Kumar from TU Delft is now published on line via the link. Mr. Kansara and other MEng project students are all contributing this novel work on “Data-driven modelling of scalable spinodoid structures for energy absorption”.

February 2021 – Dr. Tan is honoured to be elected as a board member of UK Association for Computational Mechanics.

November 2020 – My co-author (E. Martínez-Pañeda) and Dr. Tan would like to announce that our new paper titled “Phase field predictions of microscopic fracture and R-curve behaviour of fibre-reinforced composites” has been accepted in Composites Science and Technology (The most prestigious journal in the composite field, IF=7.09), The free online version can be found in here or the archived version from the link (https://arxiv.org/abs/2011.00779).

September 2020 – Welcome Mr. Emilio Felipe Gomez, PhD candidate, working on the thermal-mechanical modelling of graphene-related materials.

June 2020 – 5 PhD Studentships from September 2020 in Graphene Materials at QMUL. Queen Mary University of London is launching a miniCDT in graphene materials with significant co-funding from the EU Graphene Core 3 Flagship programme. QMUL will establish this new activity with a cohort of five fully funded PhD studentships in the School of Engineering and Materials from September 2020. For more detail, please find the job post in Jobs.ac.uk, FindAPhD or QMUL webstite. We are looking for enthusiastic and talented PhD students to work on these projects.

April 2020 – Our new paper titled ‘A physically-based constitutive model for the shear-dominated response and strain rate effect of carbon fibre reinforced composites’ has been published in Composites Part B (IF=6.82), please enjoy reading this paper through a free link.

February 2020 – Welcome Ravi and John to join the Mechanics of Composite Materials (MCM) lab. We will work on the next generation battery electrode materials.

January 2020 – Dr. Tan has joined School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University London. Please check his University Profile.

November 2019 – Congratulations to our paper published in the Aeronautical Journal (https://doi.org/10.1017/aer.2018.78), which was awarded the Bronze Award (Authors: Dr Liu, Prof. Falzon, Dr. Catalanotti and Dr. Tan). This was featured in the annual ‘Honours, Medals and Awards 2019’ of Royal Aeronautical Society, the global aerospace community’s most prestigious and long-standing awards honouring achievement, innovation and excellence. Check the full winner list here: ow.ly/wgtU50xl20k.

November 2019 – I am going to give a talk in the 1ST EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON CRASHWORTHINESS OF COMPOSITE STRUCTURES, 19-21st November 2019, Riddel Hall, at Queen’s University Belfast. Looking forwarding to meeting my colleagues there.

October 2019 – I am looking for an enthusiastic and talented PhD student to join my new group at Queen Mary University London, starting from January 2020, fully funded for 3.5 years for UK/EU students. More information can be found from the Application Guideline or the Job Post . Visiting scholars, outstanding MSc and undergraduate students are welcome to inquire regarding research opportunities at my group.

October 2019 – Delighted to announce that, from January 2020, I will be working at Queen Mary University London as a Lecturer (Assistant Prof.). I will be leading the Mechanics of Composite Materials Lab.

Academic Collaborators


MCM group is also actively collaborating with QMUL colleagues (Graphene Mini CDT), University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, Queen’s University Belfast, Delft University of Technology and University of Washington.

Industrial Partners


MCM group has established a broad collaboration with industrial partners. Particularly, MCM group is closely working with advance material development companies such as Q-Flo, Tortech nano fibre and Ultima-Forma. Q-flo and Tortech is manufacturing macroscopic carbon nanomaterials using a scalable method. Recently, we have established links with Rolls-Royce, ORE catapult, TWI and other companies.

© 2022 by MCM group