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Research Fellows Directory

Alison McMillan

Professor Alison McMillan

Research Fellow


Rolls Royce

Research summary

I am a visiting researcher from Rolls-Royce plc, part-time funded by a Royal Society Industry Fellowship. The Royal Society Industry Fellowships are appointments funded by the Royal Society, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, Rolls-Royce plc and Astra Zeneca.

My research is in the field of composites, under the auspices of The Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) and the Rolls-Royce Composites UTC.

The challenge for an aerospace engineer is to improve efficiency, in part by reducing airframe and engine component weight while maintaining acceptable levels of safety through the use of new materials. Currently, the material generating the most interest is the carbon or glass fibre reinforced plastic. These are also known as Organic Matrix Composites (OMCs), or simply as “composites”. The raw materials exist in sufficient quantities, costs are not prohibitive, and the engineering properties of the materials are well enough understood for there to be confidence enough to use them in an industry that is extremely safety conscious.

The purpose of my research is to enable better design for reduced weight, and to establish composites as a viable alternative for components where the engineering demands are more challenging.

My particular research skill is in the development and application of mathematical modelling of physical processes. My aims are to quantify durability of composite components under repeated loading, model composite component failure under impact loading, and understand variations arising from the manufacture process.

Grants awarded

Wave propagation and energy management in composite and hybrid structures

Scheme: Industry Fellowship

Dates: Jun 2007 - May 2011

Value: £100,257.24