UoB Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Arthur Levy, Laboratoire de Thermique et Energie de Nantes (LTEN), France

Profile picture of Arthur Levy

Manufacturing processes for sustainable composite materials of the future

8 May - 5 Aug 2018

Biography

Arthur Levy is an international expert in multiphysical modelling and simulation of composite forming processes. An emphasis on heat transfer, mechanics, solidification and adhesion mechanisms have been developed over an 11 year career in scientific research. Arthur’s research gives a better insight into several thermoplastic and thermoset forming and joining processes needed to develop lightweight advanced structures.

Extensive work has been performed in composite manufacturing processes, such as tape placement of large structures, continuous ultrasonic welding for large structures, sustainable out-of-autoclave manufacturing processes, and thermoforming/ thermostamping for net shape composite structures. Arthur was awarded his PhD in 2010 from a consistently top ranked Engineering School in France: Ecole Centrale de Nantes. Arthur developed numerical models of thermoplastic ultrasonic welding processes, a technique to join composite materials without introducing holes that disturb the highly aligned fibrebed that give composite materials their advantageous properties. Upon completion of his PhD, Arthur gained international experience as a postdoctoral fellow in prestigious composite research centres at the University of Delaware in the USA, and McGill University in Canada. The Centre for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware is internationally recognised for excellence in composite materials science and engineering. At Delaware, Arthur applied his numerical skills to improve adhesion between layers deposited by an additive manufacturing process for large composites structures. At McGill, process simulation remained a key theme during Arthur’s research activities, where he investigated net-shape manufacturing of long discontinuous fibre thermoplastic composite parts by compression moulding. Arthur also collaborated with the BMVP host researcher, Dr James Kratz, to study gas transport in sustainable manufacturing processes for composite structures. Arthur returned to Nantes in 2014, where he is now a Lecturer in Composite Process Simulation at the Polytechnic University of Nantes.

Summary

Composite materials have been identified as a light-weight alternative to metallic structures, particularly desirable in the aerospace and automotive industries where light-weighting can reduce emissions and fossil fuel consumption. To date, advanced composites are mostly made by encapsulating long, stiff, slender carbon fibres in a thermosetting matrix because of excellent properties and ease of processing the polymer from a liquid into a glassy solid. However, their long-term sustainability has recently been questioned because of high scrap volume, long and energy intensive processing cycles, no viable recyclable methods, and must be stored at very cold temperatures to avoid perishing.

An increasing effort is being put towards developing more sustainable composite materials and associated manufacturing processes. For example, fibres and polymers are combined at the last possible stage of the manufacturing process to avoid expiry dates. In addition, any waste fibre is reclaimed and reprocessed into non-critical composite parts. Recycled materials have found limited application to date because the fibre orientation is random, negating the performance benefit of the carbon fibre materials. The principal aim of this BMVP is to identify new manufacturing methods and modelling techniques for reclaimed carbon fibre composites. Arthur will bring his expertise in numerical simulation to homogenise the material microstructural properties governing the macroscale manufacturing process. By examining the material at multiple scales, the techniques developed here would be transferrable to a wide range of composite materials and processes and offer an appealing alternative to timely and costly expansive trial and error approaches.

During his stay in Bristol Dr Levy will be hosted by Dr. James Kratz (Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering) and will be involved with the following seminars (date, time and venue to be confirmed):