Laboratory of Composite Materials and Structures

Head Leading Research Scientist – Safonov Alexander
  • Viktor Grishaev – Research Scientist
  • Sergey Gusev – Chief Engineer
  • Nikita Petrov ‑ Engineer
  • Maksim Rubtsov ‑ Engineer
  • Alexander Vedernikov – PhD Student
  • Yaroslav Nasonov – Student
  • Eugene Statnik – Student
Description Composite materials are spreading across the traditional markets and creating new ones due to the unique properties of structures obtained by using a combination of materials with different properties. Skoltech CDMM Laboratory of Composite Materials and Structures explores modeling, fabrication and analysis of the composite materials and structures starting from manufacturing to usage and utilization. In order to achieve successful design of composite structures we conduct in-depth research in such areas as: simulation of technological processes; basic material behavior; stress, strain and failure analysis in both the static and fatigue regimes.
  • Mechanics and Physics of Advanced Manufacturing

This course is developed to give students a broad background and hands on experience in manufacturing of advanced composite materials. Both materials and manufacturing methods are discussed. A brief introduction to advanced composite materials and processes is presented. The course is focused on the innovative non-autoclave technologies of thermosetting resin based/fiber reinforced advanced composites. The following technologies and methods is covered: Vacuum Infusion, Press Molding, Pultrusion, Filament Winding, and Mechanical Testing. Typical problems of materials, tooling, cure, and technological defects is discussed. The physics, chemistry, and mechanics to develop the fundamental and constitutive laws describing the processing steps of the polymer composite fabrication processes is discussed.


  •  Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

The course provides an introduction to the field of Advanced Manufacturing and Digital Engineering Technologies and focuses on three main research and educational thrusts of the Center for Design, Manufacturing and Materials, namely the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Digital Engineering Technologies, and Mechanics and Physics of Advanced Manufacturing.


  •  Nanocomposites

The focus of the course is a special class of composites which include nano-scale reinforcements. The course covers their production, microstructure, micromechanics, functional properties (electrical and thermal conductivity) and applications. There has been immense interest in the use of carbon nanomaterials for reinforcement of plastics and their composites in the recent years. The course provides to Skoltech students an opportunity to catch with this accelerated trend of world-wide research.


  •  Composite Materials and Structures

This course aims to provide knowledge about manufacturing, properties, and contemporary problems in composite materials. The emphasis is on the practical applications, theoretical background, and the use of composite materials in industry. The course includes practical experience of composite manufacturing and mechanical tests. During the last part of the course the participants will be presented a ‘challenge’ project in design and structural analysis, which they may attack experimentally, analytically or by means of finite-element package Abaqus. Participants are expected to demonstrate their collective knowledge while at the same time solving individually a real problem.


Available experimental and computational capabilities and equipment Pultrusion machine PULTREX Рх 500-6ТThe Pultrusion process is a highly automated continuous fibre laminating process producing high fibre volume profiles with a constant cross section. Having a high fibre volume fraction makes pultrusion an ideal process for structural component production giving a high strength to weight ratio. Skoltech pultrusion machine is produced by Pultrex Ltd from UK ( Skoltech pultrusion machine is supplied by infra red ovens and special systems for production of thermoplastic profiles.Characteristics:The maximum pulling force – 6 tonsThe maximum width of the manufactured profile – 500 mmMaximum feeding speed – 5 m / minNumber of heat control zones – 6Input materials:Continuous reinforcing fibers and fabrics

Thermoplastic / thermosetting polymeric resin

Filament Winding Machine

This process is primarily used for hollow, generally circular or oval sectioned components, such as pipes and tanks. Fibre tows are passed through a resin bath before being wound onto a mandrel in a variety of orientations, controlled by the fibre feeding mechanism, and rate of rotation of the mandrel.


The number of coordinates ‑ 4

The possibility of wet and dry (pre-preg) winding

Maximum mandrel diameter ‑ 400 mm

The maximum length of the mandrel ‑ 1000 mm

Laboratory-Platen-Press P 300 P/M

Compression molding is a high volume molding method that yields fast cycle times, high part uniformity, and allows for metal inserts, ribs and bosses to be molded in the part. In the compression molding process, the heated matched metal mold set is mounted in a large hydraulic press. A pre-weighed charge of molding compound is loaded into the mold and the press is closed. Under the pressure and temperature of the tool set the material cures rapidly. Subsequent machining and finishing operations are minimal in compression molding so labor costs are reduced.

The laboratory plate press P 300 P/M allows to produce films and platens of all types of polymer. Touch screen control enhances the functionality and visualization of complex processes.


Plate dimensions – 300 x 300 mm2

Max. force – 200 kN

Max. temperature – 300 °C

Heating rate – up to 15 K/min

Cooling rate – > 30 K/min

Vacuum system for resin infusion and vacuum bagging Vacmobile 2S

The Vacuum Infusion Process (VIP) is a technique that uses vacuum pressure to drive resin into a laminate.  Materials are laid dry into the mold and the vacuum is applied before resin is introduced.  Once a complete vacuum is achieved, resin is literally sucked into the laminate via carefully placed tubing.

The Vacmobile 2S is a single pump/single resin trap modular mobile vacuum system for manufacturing composites using processes such as resin infusion and vacuum bagging.


Vacuum pump ‑ single phase powered continuousduty oil sealed vacuum pump VSV-20. 50 Hz capacity 20 m3/h(11.8 cfm)

Vacuum level – Adjustable from 20% vacuum (800 mbar absolute) to the pump’s maximum vacuum: 0.5 mbar

Resin trap ‑ 1 RT19 resin trap, with machined aluminium lid.

Collaborators in industry and academia Industries: aerospace, railway, construction, infrastructure, transport, energy industry, oil & gas, automotive industry.Industry partners: United Aviation Corporation, The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky (TsAGI), Russian Railways, Uralcryomash, Rocket Corporation “Energia”, ROSATOM, Aerocomposite, ApATeСh, Invest-trade, Bioplast etc.
Other Startup companyT-tech LLC – Thermoplastic PultrusionThe goal of Startup company is to develop the pultrusion process to fabricate structural profiles of fiber reinforced thermoplastic materials. Pultrusion is a continuous manufacturing process to fabricate structural profiles of constant cross section of polymer composite materials. With high material utilization ratio and minimal requirements to personnel qualification, pultrusion is the most efficient process to fabricate composite structures for civil applications. Traditional pultrusion process uses low viscous thermoset polymer matrices ensuring good impregnation of reinforcing fibers as they are pulled through the heated forming dye. However, the application of pultrusion profiles of thermoset composites is limited due to several issues such as: the need for bolted assembly of structural elements; profile geometry cannot be reworked after fabrication; poor crack resistance; low repairability; problems with recycling or reuse of profiles after the end of service; relatively low production rate and high process toxicity. The application of thermoplastic matrices in pultrusion will solve these problems. Thermoplastic composites offer several advantages such as higher crack resistance and damage tolerance due to the higher ultimate strain of matrix; shorter production cycle due to the absence of chemical reactions during fabrication; excellent environmental resistance; and thermoforming capabilities as thermoplastic matrix melts under high temperatures without chemical destruction. The project intends to develop the process to fabricate of structural profiles and structures of fiber reinforced thermoplastic materials, capable to compete with and outperform those of traditional thermoset materials.The Project application was supported by the grant awarded by Skoltech Translational Research and Innovation Program (STRIP) for 2018–2019. T-tech LLC received the status of a resident of the SKOLKOVO Foundation. Together with our industrial partners from Chelyabinsk (Invest Trade LLC), we plan to build a plant for the production of window profiles reinforced with pultrusion thermoplastic profiles.