NetComposites was founded in 2000 with the specific objective of developing and exploiting new composite materials technologies. The company is active in applied research, development and consultancy, and also has a strong presence in web-based information, all in the field of composite materials. NetComposites is also well-known for its insight into emerging technologies in composites, and has undertaken studies into the future of the industry for the UK Government, European Commission and private companies. The company is experienced in collaborative research projects, at European and national level, with successful, commercially exploitable outcomes, for example Recycle UK DTI project (€700K), Futureplas UK Technology Programme project (€900K), Combine UK Technology Programme (€1.25M) and Esprit European FP7 project (€5.79M).
They have been developing and moulding nanocomposites for over 5 years and have developed nanoclay-polyester and nanoclay-vinyl ester materials for hand lay-up, vacuum infusion and SMC compression moulding. They coordinated the SureFire UK DTI project on fire-retardant nanocomposite systems (awarded a score of 8 out of 10 by an independent panel of experts), were an active partner in the Pronacom FP6 GROWTH project on processing of nanocomposites for industrial applications and are coordinating the Polyfire European FP7 project on nanocomposite process upscaling.
In the NanoMaster project, NetComposites will be responsible for moulding graphene nanocomposite test panels, developing the project website, building the industrial interest group and will assist in the additive materials development. They are also the coordinator, responsible for technical and administrative coordination.
They work from a dedicated practical development centre in Chesterfield, UK, with facilities and expertise for designing, moulding and testing composite materials and prototypes. The facility includes the following equipment which will be use for the project:
- 150 tonne press, 2.2m x 1.7m, for RTM, compression moulding, stamp forming.
- Barlow & Whitney, 300°C programmable hot-air re-circulating vacuum oven
- Range of mechanical and physical testing equipment (tensile, compression & impact testing)
- General workshop equipment for tool-making & modifications
The main members of staff involved in this project each have many years’ experience in the management and delivery of major European research projects:
- Gordon Bishop, Managing Director: Managing Director of NetComposites, with detailed practical and theoretical knowledge of composites manufacturing techniques, and over 20 years experience of managing European collaborative projects.
- Lucas Morgan, Development Engineer: Responsible for task management and delivery in the development of new composite materials, including manufacturing materials, producing test samples and mechanical/physical assessment.
- Neil Morton, Development Technician: Responsible for the upkeep and day to day running of NetComposites’ development centre, including preparation of materials and test specimens, maintenance, design and operation of research and process equipment.