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Professor Richard Trask

Professor Richard Trask

Professor Richard Trask
B.Eng., MSc, PhD(Soton.)


Office 0.110
Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS),
University of Bristol, Queen's Building BS8 1TR
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 42 83372


Professor Trask is a member of the Bristol Composites Institutes (formly ACCIS), working in the field of Multifunctional Composites and Additive Manufacturing.

The focus of his research is directed towards the development of biologically inspired composite materials and structures, at the interface of engineering-chemistry-biological sciences, specifically targeted towards synthetic fibrous polymer composite materials in high performance applications. Nature has developed materials, objects and processes that function from the nanoscale to the macroscale. The aim of Professor Trask’s work is to mimic these systems to develop innovative and ingenious methods of adding functionality to advanced fibre reinforced polymer composite materials.

Current Research:

  • Additive Layer Manufacture of 4D materials and functionally graded multi-material composite systems
  • Biologically inspired design features and philosophies found in nacre for advanced body armour
  • Biomimicry of plantae vascules in the development of stimuli responsive self-healing composite structures.
  • Development of adaptive colour change camouflage (linked to Biological Sciences)
  • Hierarchical form and design strategies of Euplectella aspergillum (sea sponge) for structural efficiency and damage tolerance of airframe structures
  • Morphing structures using soft polymers for active camouflage based on the anatomical structure of cuttlefish papillae.

Postgraduate research student supervisor in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites for Innovation and Science (ACCIS CDT)


Professor Richard Trask is the Professor of Advanced Materials at the University of Bristol in the Bristol Composites Institute. He is also an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Early Career Fellow (Engineering Fellowships for Growth - June 2014 to May 2019).

Professor Trask completed a first degree in Materials Science and Engineering before commencing employment as Research Scientist in the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) and ultimately secured the role of Technology Leader and Advisor for UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). He developed an interest in advanced composite materials for and undertook a PhD sponsored by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at the Southampton University. After completing his PhD in 2004 he joined the Advanced Composite Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at University of Bristol (2004 to 2016). In 2016 he moved to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Bath (2016 to 2018). In this period he was the Head of Group for Advanced Design and Manufacturing @ Bath, the Head of ‘The Additive Layer Manufacturing & Multifunctional Material Design laboratory (ALM3D)’ and a standing member of University Research Committee (URC). In June 2018 he returned to the University of Bristol and resides within the Bristol Composites Institute.

His research area is in the development of biologically inspired 3D and 4D multifunctional materials.

  • Development of biologically inspired multifunctional composite materials and structures possessing adaptive (shape and colour), damage tolerant and self-healing/remodelling potential.
  • Development of 3D printing and 4D materials "Morphogenesis Manufacturing” where the material is programmed to transform during additive manufacturing to produce the next generation of advanced metamaterials.
  • Applying biomimetic principles to ‘grow’ architectures within an advanced manufacturing domain to maximise performance.

He is the co-founding editor for Multifunctional Materials (IoP Publishing), he is currently on the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics' (AIAA's) Adaptive Structures Technical Committee, the Steering Committee for the International Conference of Self-Healing Materials, and a member of the Editorial Board of Smart Materials and Structures journal (IoP Publishing).

His field of interest is bio-inspired multifunctional materials covering the areas of damage tolerance and self-healing composite materials. Nature has developed materials, objects and processes that function from the nanocale to the macroscale. The aim of Dr Trask’s work is to mimic nature to develop innovative and ingenious methods of adding functionality to advanced fibre reinforced polymer composite materials.


  • Biomimicry; Self-Healing and Remodelling; Damage tolerance; Composites; Additive manufacturing
  • 3D Printing
  • 4D Materials


I am a member of the Aerospace Composites research group, working in the field of Multifunctional Composites. - Self-healing of space composite structures Research funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) assessed the feasibility of using functional repair components stored inside hollow reinforcing fibres as a self-healing system for future composite space structures. - Biomimetic plana and branched self-healing networks in composite laminated. The healing potential and repair strategies of living organisms is increasingly of interest to designers seeking lower mass structures with increased service life who wish to progress from a conventional damage tolerance philosophy. Naturally occurring ?materials? have evolved into highly sophisticated, integrated, hierarchical structures that commonly exhibit multifunctional behaviour. Inspiration and mimicry of these microstructures and micro-mechanisms offers considerable potential to in the design and improvement of material performance.

  • aerospace composites
  • multifunctional composites
  • self-healing system
  • space composite structures
  • functional repair components
  • biometic plana
  • Memberships


    Department of Aerospace Engineering

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    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


    Professor Trask currently teaches 2 courses:

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