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Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Interests

Stuart's most prominent research is into the detection of damage in fibre-reinforced plastic composites. Fibre-reinforced plastic composites are commonly used in the marine, aerospace and energy industries, as they have a good strength to weight ratio, together with corrosion resistance. Fibre-reinforced plastic composites are made of fibrous sheets (i.e. glass fibre, carbon fibre, etc) that are laminated together with a plastic resin. Examples of these include fibre-glass and carbon-fibre, which are significantly used in sports cars, as well as modern aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Though these composites have great strength to weight ratio, they are significantly vulnerable to impact, which can cause damage that is barely visible to the naked eye. This damage can significantly reduce the performance of the composite and even cause catastrophic failure of the structure.

As a part of Stuart's research, he am developing a smart fibre-reinforced plastic composite, with a network of embedded fibre optic sensors that is able to detect damage within the material. These fibre optics sensors are embedded between two layers within the fibre reinforce composite, such they become part of the composite material. The advantage of using fibre optics are that they are lightweight, small in size, have immunity to electromagnetic interference, a capacity for multiple sensors in a single optical fibre, and a proven ability to be able to measure the deformation of a structure at the sensor locations. The use of embedded fibre optic sensors has great potential to detect damage within composite structures in real time and thus lead to an improved method of monitoring the integrity of structures that use fibre-reinforced plastic composites.

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Damage Mechanics (1)


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Material, mechanical and manufacturing engineering


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