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The Composite Research Group (CRG) forms part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in Durban, South Africa. The research group consists of Post Doctoral Fellows, Doctoral and Masters students, and In-service trainees. The group members hail from various backgrounds including Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Material Science. This enables the group to manage a variety of topics and projects.
The main stream research conducted by the group focuses on the processing, analysis and modelling of synthetic and natural composites, biocomposites, and nanocomposites. Processing of these materials are performed in-house using conventional fabrication techniques as well as high speed robotics. Mechanical and morphological analyses are accomplished via mechanical testing equipment, and, the state-of-the-art Thermal Analysis and Scanning Electron Microscope laboratories located at DUT. The behaviour of these advanced materials are modelled using finite element packages and other computational software.
The research group is also branching out into the field of Mechatronics. The Mechatronics Laboratory located at DUT provides the platform for the group’s research into this field. This research stream includes PLC programming, logic circuits, automation, robotics, new and novel end-effectors, and various control strategies. As mentioned above, there are studies involving composite processing and high speed robotics.
The research work conducted by the group is disseminated through technical reports as well as peer-reviewed publications. Further, the group also has project and research collaborations with other academic and industrial partners worldwide. The final aim of the research work is to provide development for real life applications.