Early Stage Researchers

ESR 3: Optimised crash structures using 3D woven carbon fibre preform

Monali Dahale

Project: Optimised crash structures using 3D woven carbon fibre preform

Nationality: Indian

Host Institution: UU


  • Alistair McIlhagger (UU)
  • Eileen Harkin-Jones (UU)
  • Edward Archer (UU, AXIS)
  • Ranieri Lupicini (CRF)

Start Date: 17 July 2017

PhD Status: Enrolled


  • CRF (4 weeks, Host: Lucio Cascone)

Work Package: 2

Email: m.dahale@ulster.ac.uk

Professional Experience

School of Engineering, Ulster University, Jordanstown Campus, Newtonabbey, UK

Position: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Early Stage Researcher

  • - Project title: Optimised crash structures using 3D woven carbon fibre preform
07/2017 - present

DuPont India Pvt Ltd., Hyderabad, India

Position: Ballistic Protection Application Development Intern

  • - Development and application of graphite and silica nanoparticles reinforced polymer nanocomposites for enhanced ballistic properties
  • - Development and application of shear thickening fluids on Kevlar® fabric for stab and spike resistant ballistic protection
  • - Application and testing of various Kevlar® fabrics coated with phenolic and epoxy based resins for enhanced multi threat protection (stab, spike and bullet)
12/2016 - 06/2017

School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University & Oil and Gas Innovation Centre, Edinburgh, UK

Position: Research Intern

  • - Worked on an Oil and Gas Innovation Centre and Weir PLC funded research project on synthesis of graphene polyurethane nanocomposites for improved gas barrier and electrical conductivity
  • - Synthesised different polyurethanes and graphene/polyurethane nanocomposites and characterised the materials using FTIR, DSC, NMR and XRD to study the glass transition, crystallinity and uniformity
07/2016 - 09/2016

Jobskin Ltd., Nottingham, UK

Position: Product Development Intern

  • - Development of new moisture management fabric with good functional and pressure delivering properties
  • - Measured the moisture management properties such as wicking, sweat management and moisture permeability, and compared the materials to conventional fabrics
05/2016 - 06/2016

DM Orthotics Ltd., Redruth, UK

Position: Summer Intern

  • - Studied and analysed various clinical problems faced by the patients, regarding pressure garments used for hypertrophic burn scar treatment. This included the impact of laundry and colour on the pressure delivering potential of these pressure garments.
  • - Evaluated the performance of silicone coated Powernet fabric to that of standard conventional Powernet fabric used in the construction of pressure garments applied in the treatment of Scoliosis
05/2015 - 07/2015

School of Textiles and Design, Heriot-Watt University, Galashiels, UK

Position: Summer Research Intern

  • - Completed a six-week summer intern project under the guidance of Dr. Lisa Macintyre (Director of Compress Research) on functionality of anti-embolism stockings and on functionality of pressure garments for hypertrophic burn scar treatment
  • - Evaluated the impact of moisture content and artificial perspiration on the fabric tension and pressure delivering potential of pressure garments
05/2014 - 07/2014


School of Engineering, Ulster University, Jordanstown Campus, Newtonabbey, UK
  • Ph.D., Materials Engineering (3D Textiles Composites)
  • - Project title: Optimised crash structures using 3D woven carbon fibre preform
2017 - present

Department of Fibres and Textile Processing Technology, Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India
  • Bachelor of Technology, Fibres and Textile Processing Technology
  • - Bachelor seminar in shape memory polymers and its application in pressure garments, and project in antimicrobial finishes on pressure garments
  • - Grade: 8.73/10, Rank 2/35
2012 - 2016

Research Interests

During my undergraduate studies, after completing various courses and gaining research experience, I realised that the technical and non-apparel aspects of fibres and textiles are of major interest to me; the application of various textiles in technical end applications in the form of composites was an area of interest into which I tried to gain maximum insight during my studies. To explore this field further, I took up various projects. My honours project was on feasility and efficiency of shape memory polymers in pressure garments. The challenges of shape memory polymers in terms of choosing the correct SMP’s for compatibility, non toxicity and cost effectiveness during the life cycle as well as the labour intensive work was appealing to me. After my undergraduate studies, I worked at DuPont India Pvt Ltd and was responsible for designing novel bullet proof and multi threat protection (stab, spike and bullet) jackets with maximum energy absorbing and less trauma, while being cost effective and light weight. To overcome the challenges involved with this responsibility, I studied different materials and their properties. My journey from my first research project under my undergraduate studies to my position at DuPont India Pvt Ltd. was fulfilling, yet incomplete. My research endeavour towards textile composite materials will be helpful for my ICONIC research project, which will provide a step forward in exploring different 3D woven architectures for improved crashworthiness.


Peer-Reviewed Scientific Articles

M. Dahale, G. Neale, R. Lupicini, L. Cascone, C. McGarrigle, J. Kelly, E. Archer, E. Harkin-Jones, A. McIlhagget (2019). Effect of weave parameters on the mechanical properties of 3D woven glass composites. Composite Structure. DOI: 10.1016/j.compstruct.2019.110947 - Publication Link

L. Macintyre, M. Dahale, M. Rae (2016). Impact of moisture on the Pressure delivering potential of Pressure Garments. Journal of Burn Care & Research 37(4), e365-e373, DOI:10.1097/BCR.0000000000000272 - Publication Link

M. Rae, L. Macintyre, M. Dahale (2016). Anti-embolism stockings, the similarities and differences. The Journal of The Textile Institute, doi:10.1080/00405000.2017.1301018 - Publication Link

Conference Papers

G. Neale, M. Dahale, A. McIlhagger, E. Archer, E. Harkin-Jones (2018). 3D Woven Composites for Energy Absorbing Applications. SAMPE Europe - Conference 18, Southampton, UK, 11-13th September 2018 (Oral and poster presentation).

M. Dahale, G. Neale, E. Archer, E. Harkin-Jones, A. McIlhagger (2018). Effect of pick density on tensile, compressive and shear properties of 3D woven glass composites. 21st International Conference on Composite Structures (ICCS), Bologna, Italy, 4-7th September 2018 (Oral presentation).

G. Neale, M. Dahale, A. McIlhagger, E. Archer, E. Harkin-Jones (2018). 3D woven glass fibre composites for energy absorbing applications. SAMPE UK & Ireland Students' Seminar, London, UK, 5th July 2018 (Oral presentation).

E. Archer, A. McIlhagger, E. Harkin-Jones, G. Neale, C. Ralph, M. Dahale, A. Hardman, C. McGarrigle, G. Stewart (2018). 3D weaving and consolidation of carbon fibre T-piece stringers. ECCM18 - 18th European Conference on Composite Materials, Athens, Greece, 24-28th June 2018 (Oral presentation).

M. Dahale, A. McIlhagger, E. Harkin-Jones, E. Archer (2018). Manufacturing case study of architectural and weft density change in 3D woven layer-to-layer textile preforms. 21st Sir Bernhard Crossland Symposium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, 25-26th April 2018 (Poster presentation).

M.D. Teli, S. Valia, K. Kadu, M. Dahale (2015). Upcycling of Textile Materials. 1st Global Textile Congress, Bangkok, Thailand, 13-15th February 2015. - Publication Link


Conducting STEM outreach at Belfast school


As a STEM ambassador, I went to the Belfast Boys Model School on 27th November 2018 to conduct an event focussed on mock interviews for school students. During event, the students were given feedback on their interviews, to help them improving their skills for real-life interviews that they will face in the future. I had one-on-one discussions with some of the students on their queries about the future career prospects in Engineering. ICONIC flyers were also distributed among the students to promote the ICONIC ITN and EU Horizon 2020 MSCA initiative.

Promotion of ICONIC and the EU Horizon 2020 MSCA programme at the DRaF symposium


During my secondment at Centro Ricerche Fiat S.C.p.A. in Pomigliano d’Arco (Italy), I attended the International Symposium on Dynamic Response and Failure of Composite Materials (DRaF) on 12-15th June 2018 in Ischia. During the interesting symposium, I interacted with the attendees and presenters, and promoted my ICONIC research work and the EU Horizon 2020 MSCA programme.

Presentation at the 21st Bernard Crossland Symposium in April 2018


I competed in the 21st Sir Bernard Crossland Symposium 2018 on 25-26th April at University College Dublin. I presented my work in the form of a poster and short 5-minute presentation entitled “Manufacturing case study of architectural and weft density change in 3D woven layer-to-layer textile preforms”. Read more about my participation in the symposium here.

Promotion of ICONIC ITN and EU Horizon 2020 MSCA initiative in India


On 9th April 2018, I gave a presentation to promote the ICONIC ITN and EU Horizon 2020 MSCA initiative to 25 Engineering undergraduate students from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, in my home country India. I talked about the importance of composites and crashworthiness in the Aerospace and Automotive industries, and the prospects of a career in Engineering, in particular for young women. Read more about my outreach in my blog.