High performance polymers: Polymer composites and thick sections

Polymers and their composites are already widely used in the automotive industry and aviation but face new challenging application areas, such as withstanding high temperatures or cyclic/dynamic load, etc., which needs to be investigated further.

Research projects:


Full-stop is an Innovate UK funded project supporting the acceleration towards zero-emissions vehicles, through the development of enhanced lighter braking systems. Full-stop utilises the latest advances in high temperature tolerant composite materials, to deliver a foundation braking system (callipers/discs and pads) with a 60% weight saving, whilst still performing to the highest rating for these safety-critical components.

Project lead: Freeman Automotive Ltd/EBC BRakes

CABTEC and Brake-thru

These two Innovate UK funded projects looked at different components of the braking system, aiming to develop a new type of automotive braking system for future low carbon vehicles. The aim was to deliver a lightweight and cost-effective alternative to heavy metal componentry such as grey cast iron. Both projects brought together knowhow from the world of automotive friction materials, car brake system design, and the composites industry.

Partners: Freeman Automative Ltd/EBC Brakes, European Friction Industries, Hexion, Caterham Cars, University of Exeter and Hexcel (Brake-thru only)


This project's aim is to develop a new lightweight wheel technology for aircraft. The new wheels will utilise some of the latest advances in materials engineering.

Requirements in this sector are formidable, where wheels must survive a series of industry-specific tests including extended roll life, roll-on-rim, combined load and burst tests in order to be viable. If achieved, the 25+% potential weight savings would put UK tier 1 suppliers in a world-leading position. 

Partners: Meggitt Aerospace Ltd, Victrex Manufacturing Ltd, TenCate Advanced Composites Ltd, Oxford Advanced Surfaces Ltd, University of Exeter


Y. Wang, L. Savage, (2017) Manufacturing of pre-impregnated discontinuous CF/PAEK composite. (ICCM 21) Xi'an, China August 20-25.