List of Early Stage Researcher Posts in the ICONIC Project


Recruiting Participant

Project title

Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt

Improvement of testing methods of fibre reinforced plastics at intermediate strain levels


(1) Analyse the dynamic interaction between test machine and test specimen by analytical and FE models.

(2) Develop new technical concepts to obtain a “clean” and reliable load signal or develop a systematic procedure to extract the true loads in the test specimens.

(3) Extend the strain measurement possibilities by adapting Digital Image Correlation (DIC) in order to have full and precise information on the strain evolution and distribution in the test specimen.

(4) Develop appropriate test specimens for determining intermediate tensile strain rate, shear and compression properties for FRP materials, which consider the orthotropic behaviour of composites.

(5) Develop a test procedure leading to exact and reproducible material characterisation of orthotropic FRP materials at intermediate strain rates.

(6) Generate strain rate material data which includes the effects of the most prevalent form of manufacturing defect in UD laminates, fibre waviness, based on a specimen design approach by Wang et al.

(7) Deliver intermediate strain rate material data sets for use by the participants.

University of Patras

High strain rate characterisation of composite coupons and structural details


(1) Identify the type of composite systems (e.g. monolithic unidirectional laminates, monolithic woven laminates) and structural detail design for material characterisation at high strain rate for different loading types.

(2) Determine appropriate test methodologies by assessing multiple methods and test configurations.

(3) Investigate the effects of ply waviness in UD specimens.

(4) Deliver high strain rate material data sets for use by participants.

Ulster University

Optimised crash structures using 3D woven carbon fibre preform


(1) Develop an understanding of the pertinent geometric and manufacturing parameters (including process-induced variability from ideal architecture and void content) which significantly influence the energy absorption capacity of 3D woven composites.

(2) Provide test specimens with different fibre architectures for testing at intermediate and high strain rates.

(3) Provide data sets for numerical modellers to enable the crashworthiness assessment of realistic crash structures.

Queen’s University Belfast

Developing sustainable energy absorbing materials for transportation structures


(1) To assess the process-structure-property relationships for two thermoplastics (one semi-crystalline and one amorphous) enhanced with various commercially-available nano-additives, in terms of their energy absorption capacity.

Queen’s University Belfast

Thermoplastic self-reinforced composites (SRCs) for energy-absorbing applications


(1) Identify a suitable base thermoplastic polymer for the development of a SRC.

(2) Optimise the process of increasing the glass transition temperature (Tg) between re and matrix.

(3) Improve the interfacial bond between the fibre and matrix (4) Identify route to recyclability and assess the integrity of the recycled constituents.

Queen’s University Belfast

High fidelity computational modelling of composite crushing


(1) Develop material models which capture the response of a set of composite systems and architectures capable of accounting for strain rate effects and process-induced defects.

(2) Explore numerical strategies to increase robustness in modelling composite crushing.

(3) Conduct a test programme on composite crush tubes with different triggers, cross-sections and composite materials to validate the numerical models.


Material models for composite simulations


(1) Develop a material model for damage growth in thermoset and thermoplastic composites with an emphasis on assessing the effects of strain rate and friction on microcrack surfaces.

(2) implement within a suitable finite element or particle-based framework which is able to handle strain rate and fragmentation.

(3) Embed this model within a multiscale modelling tool to capture the rate dependent damage growth in inhomogeneous laminates under crushing loads.

University of Patras

Multiscale modelling for impact simulations of aerostructural components


(1) Develop a computationally efficient modelling approach, based on the representation of plies within a laminates as ‘stacked shells’ or shell-like-solid elements, with a 2D progressive intralaminar damage model and the use of cohesive elements at the shell interfaces for modelling interlaminar damage.

(2) Account for strain rate effects within the simplified formulation, by introducing in the finite element material models appropriate coefficients which will represent the strain rate dependency of strength and moduli properties.

(3) Indentify industrially relevant demonstrators to assess simulation methodologies efficiency.

Short Brothers PLC (Bombardier Aerospace Belfast)

Design of crashworthy composite aerostructures


(1) To exploit computational tools being developed in ICONIC for the design of crashworthy aerostructures.

(2) Manufacture and test a set of panels with different joint types.

(3) Develop a deeper understanding of strain rate effects of composites during an impact event.

University of Limerick

Optimisation of mechanically-fastened composite joints for energy absorption


(1) Validate (via high-speed joint testing) the capability of recently-developed explicit finite element damage and plasticity model to predict all failure modes of complex, multi-fastener joints.

(2) If needed, further develop the model.

(3) Develop an optimisation framework around the model, and create a numerical tool capable of optimising complex, multi-fastener composite joints for energy absorption,

(4) Validate the tool by high-speed testing of optimised joints.

University of Limerick

Development of discrete fastener-less joining technologies for impact protection devices


(1) Develop a novel interlocking and fastener-less joining technology for composite-to-metal joining.

(2) Optimise the interlock design for maximum energy absorption.


Multidisciplinary material and process optimisation for crashworthiness


(1) Conduct a simplified parametric study on an automotive and aeronautical structure optimised for a series of crash energy absorption, manufacturing cost ratios and material configurations.

(2) Extend this multidisciplinary optimisation to include manufacturing processes and process-induced defects.

(3) Undertake two case studies, one automotive-related and the other aeronautical-related, to assess a number of material systems and manufacturing processes in terms of cost and energy absorption.

Centro Ricerche Fiat

Design of crashworthy automotive composite structures


(1) Assess the fidelity of the current computational tools used within the organisation (primarily RADIOSS) in capturing the crush response of composite structures.

(2) Extend the material laws of these tools to better reflect the damage mechanisms in crush events.

(3) Develop an improved modelling methodology for crash simulations and use for the design of new highly energy-absorbing structural configurations.

(4) Validate the designs with experimental data.

Centro Ricerche Fiat

Structural testing of composite crash structures


(1) Assess the performance of candidate composite materials for a range of temperatures and ageing treatments according to automotive standards.

(2) Develop a test programme for static and dynamic crush testing of representative crush elements.

(3) Test demonstrators using a crash sled.

Politecnico di Torino

Development of high-fidelity component-wise models based on advanced structural theories to improve the prediction capabilities of finite elements in impact analyses of composites


(1) Extension of Carrera Unified Formulation (CUF) plate/shell/beam advanced models to impact problems.

(2) Inclusion of nonlinear, multiscale and multi-field capabilities.

(3) Implementation of damage modelling.

(4) Numerical assessments at various strain rates.

(5) Validation via experimental tests.