Providing the aerospace, automotive and marine industries with a significant advantage in further understanding and refining

their composite manufacturing processes.

The Composites team conducts applied and fundamental research in areas involving advanced composite materials and structures, including processing, impact, and fracture/damage. In all areas there is a tight coupling between modelling and experimental activities. The team leads the Composites Research Network (CRN), a knowledge creation, translation and application network. The primary mission of the CRN is to support and grow the composites industry and supply chain in Western Canada and beyond, by improving capabilities in design, manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul. It does this by bringing together academic and industry knowledge to solve specific challenges. Best-practice solutions can then be shared with other industry partners facing similar challenges.

Team Balance


Hosted by the University of British Columbia, the Composites Research Network is a leading example of a collaborative research model. Building large, complex composites structures leads to defects. The CRN effort uses innovative modeling techniques to optimize composites fabrication variables and minimize or eliminate defects, scrap and rework.
A major focus is to develop best practices based on these new methods which can be quickly and effectively transitioned into practice by Tier 1 partners such as Boeing, and their supply chain for maximum benefit, reducing cost, time, and risk.


If medicine has Teaching Hospitals, why does engineering not have Learning Factories, where production, research, and education come together seamlessly?

Building on the success of introducing simulation to composites manufacturing to reduce risk, cost, and schedule, CRN is developing, in conjunction with its industrial members, an exciting new initiative to reimagine composites manufacturing for the 21st century, bringing together simulation, sensors and data analytics, and automation.

The physical factory will have a core capability which is the current, qualified production baseline. The factory will be immensely data rich, with multiple layers of sensors and data analysis. It will be sized to allow for both standard production and research production. It will be highly reconfigurable and multi-layered in its ability to allow different sensor and data analysis technologies to be implemented and researched. There will be a digital twin in the cloud, where a virtual factory based on simulation will be used, in combination with the rich data from the physical factory, to understand, manage, and improve advanced composites manufacturing processes.

The factory will be physically designed to be a mixed use facility, satisfying both academic and industrial requirements. It will be part of the UBC Okanagan campus, a key tenant of the new Innovation Precinct, and will be conducive for interaction and collaboration. Equal attention is being paid to the virtual factory, which will be hosted at the UBC Vancouver campus, where the combination of big sensor and data capacity from the physical factory will be combined with simulation to understand, control, and optimize the production of advanced aerospace composites structures.

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Convergent Manufacturing Technologies is a highly successful spin out that was launched by the team in 1998. It is headquartered in Vancouver, with subsidiary operations in Seattle, USA. It works with most of the World’s largest aerospace companies, developing complex composite manufacturing simulation software.


Anoush Poursartip


Göran Fernlund

Technical Director

Elizabeth Croft


Reza Vaziri

Scientific Director

Frank Ko


Abbas Milani



Polymer matrix composites
Nanofibres and nanocomposites
Digital Models of Composites Processing
Simulation software development
Defects and damage characterization
Virtual machining of composites
Damage growth
Material characterization
In-service behaviour