Dr Silvestre Pinho

Photographic portrait of Dr Silvestre Pinho

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Division: Aeronautics
Organisation: Imperial College London
Tags: Fellowship: Engineering Fellowship, Imperial College London, Researcher
Related theme: Engineering Manufacturing the future


Silvestre Taveira Pinho is a Professor in Mechanics of Composites and an EPSRC Research Fellow. He was awarded in 2010 by the European Society for Composite Materials (ESCM) the prize for best young researcher in Composites active in Europe. Silvestre is since June 2012 a member of the Council and of the Executive Committee of the ESCM. In March 2014, Silvestre was awarded an EPSRC fellowship for designing novel forms of more damage tolerant composite structures.

My Fellowship

Breakthroughs in the development of new materials have historically been achieved largely by trial and error. My vision is that there is a new generation of advanced hierarchical materials that has never been addressed and can be achieved by design. This new generation draws inspiration both from recent experimental observations in existing materials and from biomimetics, and is made possible by recent advances in modelling and manufacturing. The main challenges faced by today's composites industry include:

  • Damage tolerance
  • Manufacturability
  • Sustainability

I argue that hierarchical micro-structural designs for composites will be more damage tolerant and achieve over 100 per cent increase in fracture toughness; that hierarchical discrete carbon-fibre systems will simultaneously address manufacturing and performance needs of the automotive industry; and that recycled carbon fibres will find a high-value market as semi-structural parts by also exploiting hierarchical architectures. My proposal is to define these hierarchical micro-structures by design and to then develop suitable manufacturing methods to realise them in practice.