Remanufacture of Marine Composite Components based on Improved Service Data and Field Diagnostics

Academic Institution: University of Edinburgh

Academic Supervisor: Dr Edward McCarthy

Industry Partner: Babcock International

PhD Student: James Quinn

Start Date: 1st July 2019


The Scottish asset management market was valued at £620 billion in 2016, much of which is based in the marine sector. However, in order for Scottish companies to maintain their leadership in asset management, they must import new monitoring technologies, design expertise and skills into their business, particularly to drive the manufacturing of advanced new grades of polymer composites designed specifically for marine repair applications.

Babcock International are the UK’s leading engineering services company with total revenues of over £5.3bn in financial year 2017-18 and a workforce of around 35,000 worldwide, and it has a clear stake in improving competitiveness and capability in the asset management sector that will depend on its ability to successfully introduce composite health monitoring technologies and expertise into its business. This will also impact its design and manufacturing processes as it will seek to improve composite repair practices and materials selection based on improved understanding of service performance provided by advanced monitoring technologies.

To assist Babcock International to address these challenges, University of Edinburgh and Babcock International will collaborate on a PhD project that will feature the following activities, designed to strengthen BABCOCK capability in the asset management sector:

Surveys of existing monitoring technologies for structures.

Investigation of strategies for optimising fault detection, and overcoming barriers to correct data interpretation.

Determination of effects of operation stress, de-lamination, thermal expansion, and water ingress on the likely lifetime of a composite component or structure.

Validation of inspection and fault diagnosis process from ‘cradle-to-grave’ to involve the new EPSRC-funded FASTBLADE fatigue testing facility at Edinburgh.

The project team expect rapid route to impact via Babcock’s existing internal capability, its supply chain, and the formation of new partnerships with emerging materials and detection technology companies in Scotland and globally. This should allow Babcock and the local supply chain to access current high levels of growth in this area and to increase local high-skilled employment.