Composites sharing site aims to reduce waste and support composite materials research.

Dr James Meredith, creator of the Composites Exchange website
The short shelf life of composite materials can result in large quantities of waste and high cost and long lead time make sourcing materials for research difficult. Dr James Meredith, from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield, has come up with a novel solution to these problems by creating the Composites Exchange, a website which gives users the ability to share and acquire unwanted composite materials.

The site focuses on ‘prepreg’ composite materials composed of fabric preimpregnated with resin. These are often only available in large quantities and go out of date quickly, which means much of it can end up in landfill.

The site brings together large consumers of prepreg, with universities and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), who may only require small quantities of composite material. For many small businesses and research organisations the need to purchase minimum order quantities is expensive, leading to waste and limiting access to a wide range of materials. The site will provide greater access for materials to be used in composites research.

Dr Meredith said: “Preventing waste of valuable and energy intensive composite materials is really important. I hope that this tool can facilitate sharing between all users of these materials, create new collaborations and help solve research problems through access to materials that would not normally have been possible.”

Author
Tom Austin-Morgan

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