Skip to main content

Graphene sensor for defect detection in composite materials

Graphosite: Graphene sensor for defect detection in composite materials

Defects can be present in composite structures and can be produced either during the manufacturing process or during the normal service life of the component. Non-Destructive testing techniques can be used to detect flaws in composite structures. Techniques such as strain sensors and ultrasonic testing can be used to detect defects but due to their multiple limitations such as cost and bulky design reduced their application fields and prevented them from being used widely.

The GRAPHOSITE GRAPHOSITE (A Graphene Sensor for Defect Detection and Predictive Maintenance in Composite Materials for use as a highly efficient, more convenient composite monitoring tool) project seeks to develop a strain sensing technology that will be based on an enhanced, minimal design graphene-based substrate with the ability to be applied on the surface or embedded within a composite structure. GRAPHOSITE offers a technological solution that addresses a significant challenge to composite materials – defect detection. It aims to apply graphene to a customised substrate to achieve enhanced defect sensing and predictive maintenance with increased sensitivity. The sensor will be embedded with the composite during manufacturing or applied to the surface of the component and will have high flexibility properties. A unique feature of the novel technology is that graphene will serve as the sensing element and act as the gate through with the electric current passes. Being a permanently installed sensor either embedded as part of the composite at manufacture or attached to the surface for existing components, condition monitoring will therefore be continuous and in real-time. 

The successful exploitation of this technology will result in cumulative revenue of £103m after 6 years in the market.

Commercial partners

  • ADVISE-DATA (Project Coordinator)
  • DZP Technologies
  • Cambridge Nanomaterials Technologies Ltd
  • Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd
  • TWI Ltd


Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Mihalis Kazilas
Dr Mihalis Kazilas - Dr Mihalis Kazilas is the Director of the Brunel Composites Centre. He has more than 20 years of experience in the composites processing area. He received his PhD in Advanced Materials from Cranfield University back in 2003. His main field of expertise are polymers characterisation and polymer composites manufacturing and joining processes. He is author of several refereed scientific publications in the area of advanced composites manufacturing and process optimisation. Mihalis is a creative thinker who enjoys problem solving and able to work with different stakeholders to achieve the optimum results in both technical and managerial environments. Work experience: Sep 2019 – present: Business Group Manager, Polymer and Composite Technologies, TWI, UK June 2019 – present: Director of the Non-Metallics Innovation Centre, a joint initiative between TWI, Saudi Aramco and ADNOC Oct 2016 – present: Centre Director, Brunel Composites Innovation Centre, Brunel University London, UK Feb 2012 – 2019: Section Manager, Adhesives, Composites and Sealants (ACS) section within the Joining Process Group at TWI, UK May 2006 – Jan 2012: R&D Consultant, Project Engineer, Collaborative Projects Operations Manager at INASCO, Greece

Related Research Group(s)


Brunel Composites Centre - Shared research and technology capabilities, specialising in novel composites processing and joining technologies applied to industrial environments.

Partnering with confidence

UKRI Research England

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 17/06/2021