Current Research

We develop experimental techniques that are useful for the study of damage development in thermoplastic and thermoset-based composite materials at macro-scale and micro-scale (tensile, shear, quasi-static indentation, low-velocity impact, mode I and mode II fracture). We develop in situ characterizations using fiber Bragg gratings to monitor the processing of glass/polypropylene. Some projects are funded by SABIC.

The conductive polymer fibers produced by wet-spinning and solvent doping/dedoping exhibit high electrical conductivity, high current density, high tensile strength and Young’s modulus, good flexibility and stretchability, and excellent electrical and mechanical stability. We use these high-performance fibers to fabricate stretchable electrodes in electronic circuits, wearable sensors for health monitoring, fast response wearable heating elements, low-voltage driven contractile actuators and multifunctional fiber-reinforced composites.

We develop experimental techniques to improve the strength of secondary bonding of carbon/epoxy composites. The techniques include the use of laser for surface treatment, and insertion of additively-manufactured thermoplastic films in adhesive bond line in attempt to trigger mechanical interlocking. The role of extrinsic toughening, i.e. ligaments, is revealed. We also develop finite element frameworks for simulating ligament formation due to surface heterogeneity or thermoplastic film.

We develop finite element frameworks of different length-scales (micro- and mesoscale) in order to study damage mechanisms of continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. At micro-scale, the RVE size is determined by a two-point probability function and Hill-Mandell kinematics. Transverse and shear failure in glass/polypropylene at microscale are simulated. Mesoscale model under in-plane tension is developed.


A project at the Composites Lab is characterized by the amalgamation of experimental and computational/modeling mechanics and encompasses people with very different backgrounds to ensure we capture all aspects of these complex problems.  In the Composites Lab you will find skills ranging from theoretical mechanics, applied mathematics, computer science to material science and chemical engineering. Our researchers are connected by their common passion for the fascinating potential of composite materials.

The Composites Lab develops and authenticates techniques to achieve better designs of composite material based structures. Much of this research is done in close cooperation with major industrial partners.  This ensures a high level of applied research based on advanced theoretical concepts.



07 May, 2023

KAUST Research Conference: Energizing the Future with Composites

MCEM Lab host KAUST Research Conference: Energizing the Future of Composites on June 12 - 14, 2023. Registration deadline: May 31st.

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29 March, 2023

Congratulations on Bram's paper published in  Computational Mechanics

Frankenstein's data-driven computing approach to model-free mechanics

Bram van der Heijden, Yunteng Wang and Gilles Lubineau

Computational Mechanics (2023)

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