An ESR travelling to the FiBreMoD autumn school in Paris

An ESR travelling to the FiBreMoD autumn school in Paris

3rd November 2017

By Luís Filipe Tavares Portela Vasques Varandas

In October 2017 I was able to escape the windy Northern Ireland weather to attend an autumn school in Paris (France), provided by another Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) named FiBreMoD (Fibre Break Models for Designing novel composite microstructures and applications) and organised by MINES ParisTech. Like ICONIC, this ITN aims to train different Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) from around the world to become multi-talented professionals in the field of composite materials.

The aim of the school lectures was to broaden the knowledge of participants regarding fibre-reinforced composites, their constituents, manufacture, applications and failure mechanisms. I first heard about this event through my long-time colleague and friend Marco Alves, one of the FiBreMoD ESRs from Imperial College London. On 24th October I travelled to Paris to attend the event, taking place in the FIAP Jean Monnet, an international congress centre.

The lectures kicked off on 25th October with a review of mechanical properties and mechanisms of fibre-reinforced structural composite materials given by Prof. Anthony Bunsell from MINES ParisTech. This lecture involved a little from A to Z regarding composite materials. It was a broad and interesting presentation that involved the fundamental mechanisms governing the reinforcement of composite materials and complex interactions between the matrix, reinforcement and interfaces. Tea/coffee breaks and a lunch gave the opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.

The next lecture was given by Prof. Andy Long from the University of Nottingham, with the main focus on the design, manufacture and performance of textile composites. The lecture covered the main applications of textiles (2D or 3D) and how to manufacture them. He also addressed the performance of their in-house open source software, TexGen. After these lectures, free time was given for everyone to visit the spectacular sights that the city of Paris has to offer. In particular, we visited Notre-Dame and the Eiffel tower. The day finished with a dinner/cocktail reception.

The second day started with a lecture by Prof. Albert Turon from Universitat de Girona, addressing failure analysis of fibre-reinforced composite materials (one of my favourite topics). The presentation covered different approaches to model failure mechanisms of unidirectional composite materials throughout their different length-scales, however it was mainly focussed on the prediction of delamination under quasi-static and fatigue loading. Lecture number four was given by Prof. Alexander Bismarck from Imperial College London. The presentation was divided into three parts: the first part addressed the importance of wetting, spreading and adhesion, followed by the description and understanding different polymer surface treatments, and finishing with fibre-matrix interface characterisation. After the lectures, we got more sightseeing time, and thanks to the easy metro access, we had time to visit the exterior part of the Louvre, the Luxembourg Gardens and various streets of Paris.

To finish the day, we had a FiBreMoD dinner, during which all the participants and most of the lecturers participated. The French cuisine, the company, the environment… everything was excellent.

The school ended with two other lectures given by Prof. Veronique Michaud from Ècole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, addressing the different types of composite materials processing principles and techniques, and Dr. Peter Davies from the Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (lfremer), who spoke about the marine application and long-term behaviour of composite structures.

This FiBreMoD autumn school was a remarkable and unforgettable experience that broadened my horizon regarding the concept of lectures and learning. I would like to thank the organisation committee, for delivering such a good quality event and for creating an environment of interaction and learning, and to give us time to explore the great city of Paris. I am also grateful to Jan Rojek, one of the FiBreMoD ESRs, for showing us around in Paris, and to my friend Marco Alves for telling me about this event and for introducing me to everybody. I wish everyone the best of luck in their research paths, and await anxiously our next meeting.


Read more about the FiBreMoD ITN here.