The composites machining group provides innovative, state-of-the-art and collaborative solutions to the composite machining community.

We want to make this form of subtractive composite processing affordable, fast and safe so that it is more attractive to machine a high value-add component to net shape than to use any other technology.

Recent works include assessment of CFRP workpiece quality inspection techniques and machinability techniques which have transferred from metallic traditions.  These include surface roughness analysis, force measurement and tool micro-geometry inspection techniques. In addition, another project is looking at the effect of coolants on the CFRP machining process, focusing on the tool life impact.


Assessment of inspection techniques: Investigates 3D aereal texture measurement over typical stylus-based roughness measurement techniques to represent a complex, heterogeneous fibre reinforced polymer surfaces. In addition, this project also undertook to determine the efficacy of enhanced micro geometry in full slot edge trimming operations by investigating the forces in the process.

Wet vs Dry CFRP Machining: A number of different coolant types were used with all other factors in the experiment kept constant.  The life of a number of drills was examined with respect to hole quality performance and tool wear criteria.

Industrial application and benefit

As industries such as aerospace, automotive and renewable energy (principally wind) look towards reducing the structural weight of their components, composite materials are growing in demand. Current large scale commercial aircrafts consist of more than 50% composites materials with a typical wing requiring in the region of 5,000 holes and more than 50,000 holes in the entire aircraft.

Also of note

Working with partners on generic projects or with companies on specific work the categories of development fall under:

  • Cutting tool design benchmarking.
  • Damage in composite machining.
  • Intelligent workholding.
  • Hole generation.
  • Edge trimming.
  • Stack material investigations.

Our TSB funded VARCITY project works with a major UK automotive manufacturer.

For more information, please contact:
0114 222 1747