A Global Research Institute of Queen's University Belfast

Advanced Composites Research Group



  • The September 2017 edition of the Crash Test Technology magazine featured crash test simulation software developed by researchers from the ACRG. Please find the article here.

  • ACRG members Professor Brian G. Falzon, Dr. Giuseppe Catalanotti, Mr. Suhail Attar, Mrs. Farzaneh HassaniMr. Luís Filipe Tavares Portela Vasques Varandas, Mr. Denis Dalli and Dr. Sascha Serno are travelling to Patras (Greece) for the 1st ICONIC Summer School and 2nd ICONIC Project Meeting on 4-8 September 2017 at the University of Patras.
  • We are delighted to announce that the ICCM (International Conference on Composite Materials) committee has announced that ICCM23 will take place in Belfast in 2021! This is a fantastic result after months of dedicated effort from a team led by ACRG Director Professor Brian G. Falzon and including the ACRG members, Queen's Public Engagement Office, Visit Belfast and Conference Partners International. With delegate numbers of up to 2,000 people, this prestigious event showcases world leading research in advanced composites. This announcement recognises the quality and global position of the composites sector in Northern Ireland. Congratulations to all involved!
  • Professor Brian G. Falzon has been invited to give a keynote lecture during ICCM-21 on 20-25 August 2017 in Xi'an (China). 
  • Multiple ACRG members will present their latest results during the 21st International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM-21), that will take place on 20-25 August 2016 in Xi'an (China). The members presenting during ICCM-21 are Dr. Dan Sun, Dr. Giuseppe Catalanotti, Dr. M. Ali Aravand, Dr. Evmorfia Diamanti, Dr. Andrés Nistal, Dr. Robert S. Pierce, Mr. Ravi Chitwan, Mr. Haibao Liu, Mrs. Emer McAleavy and Ms. Xudan Yao.

  • Ms. Xudan Yao won the Three Minute thesis contest and will represent Queen's University Belfast in the UK National contest. Congratulations Xudan!
  • Professor Brian G. Falzon, Dr. Giuseppe Catalanotti, Mr. Luís Filipe Tavares Portela Vasques Varandas and Dr. Sascha Serno participated in the 1st ICONIC Project Meeting in Turin (Italy) on 4-5 May 2017.

  • In April and May 2017, two more ICONIC PhD student and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Early Stage Researcher joined our group. Mrs. Farzaneh Hassani joined us from the Pishgaman Shadmehr Industrial Group in Tehran (Iran) and is working on self-reinforced composite structures as part of the ICONIC. Mr. Suhail Attar joined us from the Capital University of Science and Technology in Islamabad (Pakistan) and is focussing on the development of sustainable energy absorbing materials for transportation applications. Welcome Farzaneh and Suhail!
  • Professor Pascal Hubert joined our group during his sabbatical stage at Queen's University Belfast. Professor Hubert comes from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at McGill University (Montréal, Canada). He has extensive experience in the development of process modelling tools for advanced composite materials utilising a combination of experimental and computational techniques. Welcome Pascal!

  • Mr. Luís Filipe Tavares Portela Vasques Varandas joined our group in March 2017 from INEGI in Porto (Portugal). He will work within the ICONIC project as a PhD student and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Early Stage Researcher, focussing on the understanding how damage mechanisms evolve in different types of composite materials at different length scales. Welcome Luís!

  • In March 2017, two senior lecturers joined our group. Dr. Mukul Shukla joined us from MNNIT Allahabad (India), where he was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Shukla’s primary research interests lie within Polymer Composites (nano and natural fiber composites) and metal Additive Manufacturing (AM). Dr. Zafer Kazancı joined us from the Turkish Air Force Academy, where he was an Associate Professor since 2011. He has spent his career specialising in the behaviour of composite structures under extreme loads and specialises in blast and impact loading. His research expertise includes not only blast loaded composite structures but also crash and crush analysis including crash tube design, birdstrike certification, improving crush force efficiency and ballistic impact. Welcome Mukul and Zafer!

  • On 1 February 2017, Professor Brian G. Falzon promoted the work in the ICONIC project and of the Advanced Composites Research Group in a short clip during BBC Northern Ireland Newsline and in an article in the Belfast Telegraph.

  • In January 2017, two new members joined our group. Dr. Hugo Nolan joined us from the National Centre for Sensor Research at Dublin City University. He brings his materials synthesis and characterisation experience to a project involving the synthesis of nanoparticle/hydrogel composites using atmospheric microplasma for biomedical applications. Dr. Sascha Serno joined us from the University of Edinburgh where we worked as a post-doctoral research associate in Applied Geochemistry. Dr. Serno is the Project Manager for the ICONIC Project. Welcome Hugo and Sascha!




  • Professor Brian G. Falzon has been invited by the Rector of the Moscow Aviation Institute, Mr. Mikhail Pogasyan, to deliver a seminar in November 2016 and to promote the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen's University Belfast for future research collaboration and staff/student exchange.

  • Between September and November 2016, five PhD students joined our group. Mr. Daye Sun joined us in September from Jilin University in China and works on plasma assisted synthesis of novel multifunctional nanocomposites. Ms. Joanne Campbell joined us in October after receiving her Masters' degree in Physics from Queen's University Belfast. Her research focusses on multiphysics simulation of lightning strikes on nano-enhanced composite aircraft structures. Mr. Hong Ma also joined us in October from Shandong University in China, with his research at Queen's University Belfast focussing on the CTNs modified multi-phase hybrid epoxy nanocomposites. Mr. Denis Dalli joined our group in November from Cranfield University (UK). His PhD research is focussed on improving the current modelling techniques for composite crash simulations, for better prediction of impact damage. Mr. Stephen Smith joined our group in November from Oxford Brookes University (UK) and will work on the application of the element-free Galerkin method to simulate injection-stretch blow moulding. Welcome Daye, Joanne, Hong, Denis and Stephen!

  • Professor Gianluca Cicala from the University of Catania (Italy) visited us in October 2016 as part of a collaboration between our respective groups. Professor Cicala has extensive experience in the development of novel production processes for composites, polymeric blends, eco-composites, auxetics and material characterisation.

  • The ICONIC project (Improving the crashworthiness of composite transportation structures), funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme with €4 million and coordinated by Professor Brian G. Falzon, kicked off in October 2016 with a Kick-Off Meeting at NIACE in Belfast on 13 October 2016, involving all senior scientists from the involved organisations. In the ICONIC project, a total of 15 early-stage researchers will work on invidiual research projects at nine different organisations in six European Union member states, including the UK, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Germany.

  • Mr. Haibao Liu and Ms. Xudan Yao presented their latest results at the 17th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM-17) that was held in Munich (Germany) on 26-30 June 2016.

  • Dr. Giuseppe Catalanotti joined our group and the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as a lecturer. He joined us from INEGI, the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial engineering, which is part of the University of Porto (Portugal). His main research interests are focused on the structural integrity of advanced polymer composites. In particular, Fracture Mechanics, Continuum Damage Mechanics, Computational Mechanics for advanced polymer composites, design and manufacture of composite structures, joining of composite structures, and new test methods for composites. Welcome Giuseppe!

  • In May 2016, Professor Brian G. Falzon was awarded the Postgraduate Research Supervisory Excellence Award by QUB's Graduate School, based on nominations received from a number of his international PhD researchers.

  • Professor Brian G. Falzon was successful in securing two China Scholarship Council PhD studentships. One project looks at the relationship between phase morphology and fracture toughness of CNT-modified multi-phase hybrid resin matrices and the other will explore surface functionalisation processes for creating highly functional polymer nanocomposites.

  • Professor Brian G. Falzon gave a keynote lecture on crashworthiness modelling at the largest automotive congress (SAE 2016 World Congress and Exhibition) in Detroit, MI (USA) on 12-14 April 2016.
  • In February 2016, the third MACANTA post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Sandeep Kumar, joined our group from DuPont. His present research at Queen‘s University Belfast is focussed on structural health monitoring of multi-scale composites using different assemblies of carbon nanotubes. Welcome Sandeep!

  • In January 2016, two post-doctoral researchers joined our group to work in the MACANTA project. Dr. Evmorfia Diamanti joined us from Cornell University, Ithaca (USA) where she spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher. Her research is focussed on the identification of the optimum CNT morphology with high electrical conductivity for lightning strike protection, and to develop new strategies for introducing CNTs into structural composites. Dr. Andrés Nistal joined us from the Institute of Glass and Ceramic (ICV-CSIC) in Madrid (Spain). His research interests include different aspects of carbon nanostructure-reinforced advanced multifunctional composites, and the use of CNT assemblies in carbon fibre-reinforced epoxy laminates. Welcome Evmorfia and Andres!




  • Mr. Wei Tan completed his PhD studies in "Modelling the behaviour of composite structures under impact and crush loading" in December 2015, under the supervision of Professor Brian G. Falzon. He joined the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge as a Research Associate. Congratulations and all the best Dr. Tan.

  • Dr. M. Ali Aravand joined our group as a post-doctoral researcher in October 2015, to develop and conduct industrially-oriented research at the NIACE Centre. Dr. Aravand is currently working on projects with Bombardier, B/E Aerospace, Denroy Plastics, CCP Gransden, Datum Design, and Thales. 

  • In October 2015, Professor Brian G. Falzon was offered the position of Head of School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen's University Belfast.