Composites for Aerospace

Innovation for Zero Emission Aircraft

Composites will unlock the design potential for future, cleaner aircraft and propulsion systems.  Lightweight, tough and strong, advanced composites are enabling a decarbonised commercial fleet and opening up new, exciting opportunities in urban air mobility. At the National Composites Centre, our team of specialist engineers and network of world-leading industrial partners will help you exploit the full potential of composites.



Urban air mobility

Composites are one of the game-changing technologies helping the urban air mobility market take-off. To meet the lightweight targets of this next generation UAM and eVTOL vehicles, composites are fundamental to the design of the aerostructure and propulsion system. Opening up new opportunities for the UK's composites industry in a market predicted to be worth $1.5Tr by 2040.

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Hydrogen propulsion systems

Composites are by far the best engineering solution for hydrogen storage systems. To achieve the range required on an aircraft, hydrogen fuel will have to be stored in a liquid form at cryogenic temperatures, around -200°C to deliver the maximum energy density. At the NCC, we’re specifying, designing and manufacturing cryogenic hydrogen storage vessels that will transform the potential for future cleaner propulsion systems.

Image: Lentus Composites

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Composites industrialisation

Manufacturability is at the heart of what we do. Our design and manufacturing teams work together to ensure data is embedded in the process from day one, saving time and effort and enabling us to take ideas from concept to reality quickly, using an array of tools and techniques. By optimising the design early-on and delivering full product life-cycle analysis, our customers have the results they need to commercialise and scale solutions.

Process innovation

The National Composites Centre is home to world-leading automated manufacturing technologies designed and developed by our team of engineers which enable High Rate, Complex Geometry and Large Scale manufacturing capabilities offering aerospace customers a state-of-the-art manufacturing testbed to trial new process innovations.

Collaborative R&D

The NCC has established a broad membership including end-users, OEMs and materials, equipment and production suppliers. Our strong aerospace network helps us to connect companies and universities to collaborate on projects and we provide support with bid writing to access finance for large-scale collaborative R&D programmes.

Major programmes

  • Read more about Wing of Tomorrow

    Wing of Tomorrow

    We're working with Airbus on their Wing of Tomorrow programme, exploring radical new approaches to the design and manufacture of aircraft wings. 

  • Read more about eXtra Performance Wing

    eXtra Performance Wing

    The Airbus ‘eXtra Performance Wing’ demonstrator programme focuses on accelerating and validating technologies that will improve and optimise wing aerodynamics and performance for any size of wing, helping to decarbonise the aviation industry. 

  • Read more about CERCOMP UK


    CERCOMP UK is a collaborative project that aims to drive the development of a UK ceramic matrix composites (CMC) supply chain to increase the use of CMC materials technology in aircraft propulsion and other UK industry sectors.


Case studies

News and Events

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