Members

Professor Brian G. Falzon

Principal Investigator

Head of School, Professor of Composite Materials and Aerostructures

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

Website

Professor Brian G. Falzon is the Head of the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, and the Director of the Advanced Composites Research Group. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He held the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering – Bombardier Chair in Aerospace Composites between 2013 and 2017. Between 2008 and 2012 he was the Foundation Chair in Aerospace Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where he was also Director of Research and Head of the Aerospace Engineering programmes. Between 1996 and 2008, Professor Falzon was at Imperial College London where he joined as a postdoctoral research fellow before becoming an academic staff member. Professor Falzon graduated with a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Sydney in 1996 and was awarded the Golden Jubilee graduate prize for his research into postbuckling composite aerostructures. He also gained a Bachelor of Engineering in Aeronautical Engineering with first class honours and a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Physics and Pure Mathematics from the same University.

Professor Stephen C. Hawkins

Co-Investigator

Professor

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

Website

Professor Stephen C. Hawkins has a strong record of research achievement at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s premier multidisciplinary national research agency, where he was awarded the prestigious CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement and the Nanotechnology Victoria Prize for Innovation in 2006. In September 2013 Professor Hawkins was appointed as Professor at Queen’s University Belfast, UK, and holds an adjunct Professorship at Monash University, Australia. Prof Hawkins is directly responsible for the design and construction of the reactors and the processes used by CSIRO to produce the uniquely useful ‘directly spinnable CNTs’. This skill was brought to QUB where, in September 2014, the capability to grow directly spinnable CNTs was established and demonstrated there for the first time. Establishment of a facility to synthesise very high specification carbon nanotubes within an aerospace engineering school brings together the skills to make this revolutionary material and to apply it to the further development of CFRP composites with enhanced properties and functionalities. This is of critical interest to the nationally important UK Aerospace Industry and is a unique capability in Europe. Professor Hawkins has a very broad experience in CNT related topics, including synthesis, process development, and operation of CNTs for different applications.

Professor Manu Haddad

Co-Investigator

Professor

School of Engineering, Cardiff University

Website

Professor Manu Haddad, FIET, holds a personal chair in high voltage engineering at Cardiff University and is the founder of the Advanced High Voltage Engineering Research Centre. Professor Haddad has published an IET text book (power series 41) “Advances in High Voltage Engineering” and over 200 papers in the most regarded journals and international conferences in the high voltage research area. Over the past ten years, Professor Haddad, with colleagues and PhD students, has won nine paper prizes, including prizes from IET/IEE (De Ferranti Premium) and national & international conferences. Over 30 researchers/PhD students have completed their research programmes under his supervision. His research interests in the power area are in overvoltage protection, insulation systems, alternative gases to SF6, insulation coordination, earthing and safety of electrical systems. Expanding his research expertise in lightning protection, high voltage and current phenomena and materials characterisation, Professor Haddad established, in 2011, a unique university research centre, the Morgan-Botti Lightning laboratory in collaboration with EADS (Now AIRBUS Group Innovations). The centre’s research activities are currently focussed on aircraft protection against lightning. In particular, the performance of carbon composite materials and components for aerospace applications.

Professor Mark J. Schulz

Co-Investigator

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, University of Cincinnati

Website

Professor Mark J. Schulz is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering of the University of Cincinnati (USA). He is an expert in nanoscale smart materials and sensors, artifically intelligent structures using biomimetics, and applied/basic research developing structural & human health monitoring systems.

Dr. Evmorfia Diamanti

Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

Website

Dr. Evmorfia Diamanti received her BSc degree from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Ioannina (Greece) in 2007, her MSc in Materials Chemistry and Technology in 2011 and her PhD in 2014 from the same University. She moved to Cornell University (USA) where she worked mainly on functionalisation of polymeric membranes for fuel cells, water purification and gas separation and then she joined ACRG at Queen’s University Belfast at the beginning of 2016. Her research is now focused on identification of the optimum morphology (e.g. height, CNT diameter and spacing, CNT purity and post-growth functionalisation) with high electrical conductivity for lightning strike protection applications and moreover to develop new strategies for introducing CNT assemblies into structural composites.

Dr. Sandeep Kumar

Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

Website

Dr. Sandeep Kumar received his PhD in 2009 in the Materials Science and Engineering program from the Indian Institute of Technology, India. He worked on processing and technology of nanofilled and self-reinforced high performance polymer composites. From Feb, 2009 to July 2010, he was a post-doctoral research scientist in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering where he worked in the field of polymer composites reinforced with carbon nanofillers. The prime goal of the project was to develop highly dispersed and conductive polymer composites for electrostatic dissipation applications in the aerospace industry. From October 2010 to October 2012, he was a post-doctoral research scientist in polymer chemistry and materials group at Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Switzerland where he conducted research on bio-inspired nanocellulose/polymer nanocomposites, manufacturing technologies, processabilty issues, and finally scale-up for commercial applications (Product development). At DuPont, his focus involved the development of multi-functional polymer bio-nanocomposites, characterization and structure-property relationship, deisgn of bio-materials to improve dispersions, viscosity, surface wettability and surface polarity to enable new applications and product development. Whilst working at DuPont, he was honoured with several awards including the ‘Golden Eagle of the Year’ award and ‘Idea to Innovation’ award. He has published 24 journal articles, 2 book chapter and filed 4 patents. In his current role, at Queen’s University Belfast, his focus involves the development of different assemblies of carbon nanotube webs, and their successful exploitation in structural health monitoring of composites structures.

Dr. Andrés Nistal

Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

Dr. Andrés Nistal received his BSc degree in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Madrid in 2006, his MSc in Chemistry in 2008 and his PhD in in Materials Science in 2012 from the same University. His research interest includes different aspects of carbon nanostructure-reinforced advanced multifunctional composites, from carbon nanostructure functionalisation to composite processing and mechanical, thermal and electrical testing. Andres has experience with different matrix composites, including not only polymer composites but also glass and ceramic matrices. After completing his PhD in the Chemical-Physics of Surfaces and Processes group he joined the Technical Ceramics group of the Institute of Glass and Ceramic (ICV-CSIC), where he developed graphene reinforced glass-ceramic coating for the aerospace industry until he joined the ACRG at Queen’s University Belfast at the beginning of 2016. His research is now focused on the use of functionalised and non-functionalised CNT assemblies in carbon fibre reinforced epoxy laminates for the development of hierarchical advanced multifunctional composites.

Dr. Andrés Nistal left the ACRG in October 2018 and took a post as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Materials Discovery of the University College London.

Mr. Ravi Chitwan

PhD Student

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

Mr. Ravi Chitwan was born in Kanpur, India and graduated from Swansea University (UK) with a MSc in Materials Engineering (2014) and a BEng (Hons) in Aerospace Engineering (2012). Mr. Chitwan joined the Advanced Composites Research Group at Queen’ University Belfast in February 2014 as a PhD student. He is currently conducting research on the interlaminar fracture toughness of nano-enhanced carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites using various carbon nanotube assemblies, closely related to the MACANTA project. He gained experience in producing carbon nanotube-modified composites using compression moulding, autoclave and resin infusion processing. He is proficient in mechanical testing and characterisation of polymer composites.

Mr. Ravi Chitwan finished his PhD studies in March 2018 and took a post as a Development Engineer at Coventive Composites in the same month.

Ms. Xudan Yao

PhD Student

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Queen's University Belfast

Ms. Xudan Yao received her Master’s degree in Material Science from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2014. She joined the Advanced Composites Research Group at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of Queen’s University Belfast in November 2014 as a PhD student. Her research focusses on anti-icing/de-icing of advanced composite aerostructures using aligned carbon nanotubes, closely related to the activities in MACANTA.

Ms. Xudan Yao finished her PhD studies in May 2018 and was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship at the National Graphene Institute of the University of Manchester.