The UK's University of Bristol has opened its new Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science, which will collaborate with industry on the development and application of advanced composites and intelligent structures. Companies involved with the centre include Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Smiths Aerospace.

"The South West Regional Development Agency has invested £10 million [$20 million] to support aerospace research with regional companies. And as part of this we hope that the £500,000 investment we made buying the equipment needed to run the centre in Bristol will help us to keep us at the forefront of the industry," says the agency's chairman Juliet Williams.

The centre's initiatives include several ongoing projects. There is the £1.25 million Smartcomp partnership between Smiths Aerospace and the universities of Bristol and Oxford. This is to research three-dimensional composites and self-actuating materials that can change their shape.Then there is the £700,000 Coral-Reef project funded by the development agency and Airbus, which is linked to the European airframer's composite structures development centre at Filton. It is to provide new equipment for Bristol University's laboratory for advanced dynamic engineering.

In addition, a £900,000 composites collaboration involving joint studentships between Bristol and Bath universities is supported by the South West Regional Development Agency and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

R-R, meanwhile, has created a University Technology Centre for composites at Bristol. This will analyse the mechanical response of composite engine components, using new testing methods for structures, including 3D-woven material, to understand fatigue and damage tolerance.

Source: Flight International