Established in Cambridge, UK in 1946 and with several facilities across the globe, TWI Ltd (www.twi-global.com) is one of the world-leading not-for-profit research and technology organisations with a turnover in 2018 of £64m (€71million). From bases in the UK, South East Asia, India, the Middle East, Central Asia and the USA, nearly 800 staff provide expertise in joining and fabrication, material science and structural integrity. Services include generic research; contract R&D; technical information; engineering services and advice; standards development; and training and qualification services. TWI has been carrying out research and development into composite materials for over 30 years. This gives considerable breadth to our expertise, which covers all aspects of working with composites including design, modelling, processing, repair, NDT, failure analysis, joining, added functionality (coatings) and testing. The breadth of our knowledge also draws on the use of composites in the many different industry sectors with which we work, each with differing requirements and applications
Although composite materials can be processed into components and structures in many ways, depending on the materials used, the complexity of the geometry and the production output required. One of the principal areas of research affecting the uptake of composites is the development of controlled processing techniques which allows monitoring of defects within processing stage. Our recent research and approach in this project will enable to achieve this barrier and allow the industry to make a step change.
The Adhesives, Composites and Sealants (ACS) section of TWI has several dedicated engineers in the field of composites. The section excels in three technology strands: i) processing of composites (hot press, microwave, RTM, etc.) ii) welding of thermoplastics and iii) adhesive bonding of composites to dissimilar materials. The section has played a major part in the development of processing of composites and investigation of composite fracture mechanics.