Rolls-Royce Composites University Technology Centre

How the ILO helped

‌The UTC is supported at the University by a dedicated project manager and part time project administrator, essential to the day to day processes including project reporting, contractual matters, and managing programme finances. They liaise regularly with the UTC coordinator at Rolls-Royce and the UTC management team at the University, ensuring the smooth running of the UTC programme.

PI: Professor Stephen Hallett

Project Manager: Hajnal Farkas

Project Coordinator: Helen Jones

Supported by Rolls-Royce plc


As the use of composites in aerospace and power system components increases, so a better understanding of physical behaviour and more advanced design and manufacturing methods is required. The Composites University Technology Centre (UTC), supported by Rolls-Royce, advances composite materials technology and supports its insertion into components, structures and systems through understanding, characterisation, manufacturing advances, validated analysis and innovation. Rolls-Royce technical experts collaborate on the research, ensuring effective transfer of the technology to the company whilst maintaining scientific excellence.

The UTC, established in 2007, engages high calibre PhD students and post-doctoral researchers in fundamental and applied research. To date, 22 PhD students have completed their studies, supported by Rolls-Royce through the UTC, with a further 14involved in this innovative research. These include students registered at the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites or those on the Aerospace Engineering PhD pathway. Higher TRL (Technology Readiness Level) research through the Engineering Doctorate (EngD) programme in Composites Manufacture integrates an industry-based doctoral level project with research training, as part of the EPSRC Future Composites Manufacturing Hub. Six EngD students are currently sponsored by Rolls-Royce through this route and two have completed.

The Composites UTC is led by Professor Stephen Hallett, who was appointed as Director in October 2017. Academic members include Professor Michael Wisnom FREng (UTC Technical Fellow), Dr Giuliano Allegri (UTC Reader in Composite Structures) and Dr Luiz Kawashita (UTC Lecturer in Composite Mechanics), as well as other academic staff from the Faculty of Engineering who supervise various projects. The UTC benefits from dedicated project management and administrative support from members of the Faculty’s Industrial Liaison Office.


Key achievements over the past decade include:

  • Development of modelling capabilities that are being used in the design of the composite fan blade for Rolls-Royce’s UltraFan® engine demonstrator programme.
  • Development of new methods to analyse textile composites’ internal weave geometry and properties.
  • Development of novel through-thickness reinforcement techniques (TTR).
  • Internal collaboration and support network created through the UTC structure and co-location of researchers within the Bristol Composite Institute (ACCIS) facilities.
  • External collaboration with other UK UTCs (including Oxford and Imperial Universities).
  • Establishment of the Composites University Technology Partnership (UTP) with the Lightweight Structures and Materials UTC at TU Dresden in Germany in 2012.
  • 68 peer-reviewed journal papers published since the start of the UTC.
  • 34 patent applications made.

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