Modernising Composite Regulations

Workshop on

New Opportunities for Research and Development

Organised by

Ole Thybo Thomsen & Janice Dulieu-Barton, University of Bristol, UK
Simon Quinn, University of Southampton, UK
Richard Butler, University of Bath, UK

Date & time

Tuesday 13 August 2019, 16:00-18:30

Introduction & Background

Following on from the successful ‘industrial needs’ session on modernising composites regulations that was held at the ICCM21 in Xi’an in 2017, this workshop aims to pick up on core discussion points raised at the Xi’an event, as well as to address some of the cross sector challenges faced by the composites industry across sectors.

One of the major inhibitors to the uptake of composites in new sectors that are traditionally adverse to composites is that regulations, codes and standards are often inappropriate for composites. This is because they are both explicitly and implicitly based on named materials, such as steel, and do not permit consideration of composites applications despite the strengths and benefits of the materials in many cases. The regulations were the subject of a University of Southampton study by a multi-disciplinary team that has resulted in a position paper that was published in 2017. (

At the same time as the uptake of composites is adversely influenced by current regulations in some sectors, other sectors where composites are well accepted and used increasingly, are facing challenges directly linked to current practices for validation and certification. The most prominent example is the aerospace sector, which represents a success story for the adoption of composites, and where composites validation/ certification is conducted through a rigorous performance based framework known as the ‘building block approach’ (or ‘testing pyramid’). However, there is increasing evidence and awareness that the building block approach has severe limitations, linked to high costs of certification and time to market, and further, that the ‘building block’ approach, in its current form represents a barrier to innovative design, effectively hindering that the versatility of composite materials is fully exploited. Consequently, the potential benefits of using advanced composites in terms of light-weighting and efficiency cannot be fully realised under current certification and regulatory procedures (see

The workshop will address the above through a selection of invited talks covering both the challenges of composite adverse sectors as well as the challenges faced by sectors that are currently seeking to modernise and improve current performance based certification processes. A panel discussion will follow, taking questions from the floor, on the future process to achieve a more flexible and efficient regulatory system and the new opportunities for research and development that this will provide.

For detailed program information please refer to the official ICCM program matrix.