Composite Materials

Composites Materials Cluster

A major aim for composite materials research in the Bernal Institute is to help develop new industry in Ireland based on our new IP. To meet this aim the Composites cluster will focus on two main application areas: renewable energy and sustainable aircraft transport. Research will focus on three areas that involve a combination of material development, manufacturing technology and design methods where each will be pursued in balance and harmony with each other so that equi-fidelity contributions to technology are made. Considering renewable energy Bernal is already pursuing the development of new carbon fibre materials from sustainable resources (lignin) and once sufficiently largescale production is reached, composites will be developed with thermoplastic matrices from natural, sustainable supplies. Regarding manufacturing and design methods research they both contribute in a  complementary manner to application areas, i.e. renewable energy and sustainable transport. We will develop new IP in composites manufacturing technology that will help reduce the cost of energy for wind turbine blades and lead to cheaper, better-performing aircraft (less fuel burn). Design methods will focus on advanced stress analysis development and subsequent tool development that exploits our new combination of materials and manufacturing technology. The Bernal Institute will encourage a combination of spin-outs, start ups and overseas companies to locate in the Shannon region to exploit our academic IP.


Varicomp considers the new high-value design and manufacturing area of shape changing composite materials and their engineering structures. Visit Varicomp Project


The goal of FIBRESHIP is to enable the construction of the entire hull and superstructure of large-length, seagoing and inland ships in fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) materials by overcoming several key technical challenges. Visit Fibreship Project 


The LIBRE project consists of a consortium of industry and academic research organisations. It aims to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of lignin based carbon fibre materials for application in energy and automotive sectors. Visit Libre Project


Prof. Paul Weaver

Bernal Chair Composite Materials and their Structures

Paul is an authority in the field of structural mechanics for composite materials, a pioneer in the emerging field of morphing composite structures, and an expert in the structural mechanics of buckling and postbuckling of optimised composite structures.  He has also contributed to the development of a novel manufacturing technology for composites (Continuous Tow Shearing).