Polymer Composites in Aerospace: Achievements and Challenges

Prof. Costas Soutis | Manchester Aerospace Research Center

Prof. Soutis from the Aerospace Research Center in Manchester had been invited by Prof. Georgiadis to give a talk on “Polymer Composites in Aerospace: Achievements and Challenges.”

After a brief introduction to Manchester University and the Research Center, Prof. Soutis started his talk. He first defined composite materials, and explained that the focus of his talk would lie on fiber composites because of their importance for the aerospace industry, which is the largest area of application. After outlining the advantages (e.g., weight saving, stiffness and strength, easy tailoring, potential for embedded functioning) and the disadvantages (e.g., repair and replacement problems) of composites, Prof. Soutis engaged the audience in more detailed discussion of stress analysis. He explained that because no universally accepted failure criteria exist for composites, it takes about 10 years to conduct all test and qualify new systems. In this context, Prof. Soutis also emphasized that mathematics is the most important tool of engineers. After discussing damage mechanisms under tension and under compression, he elaborated solutions to the technical challenges of composites: 3D composite structures and the use of graphene. During and after the talk, the audience asked very detailed questions, such as “How did you develop the continuum damage models?” and “Are fiber-based sensors used to analyze stressors?”


  • Prof. Dr. Anthimos Georgiadis