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Mihalis Kazilas Speaks on Polymers and Composites at TWI

Mihalis Kazilas is the Business Group Manager for TWI’s Polymer and Composite Technologies Team, overseeing 40 engineers across three sections, as well as being the Director of the Non-Metallic Innovation Centre.

He has held both of these roles since 2019, having joined TWI as a Senior Project Leader at the TWI Technology Centre North East in 2012, before going on to lead the Composites Processing Team in 2014.

Video: Polymer and Composite Technologies Business Group Manager, Mihalis Kazilas speaks on the work of his team, his own career path and innovation at TWI.

Inspired by a desire to know how things work, Mihalis’ love for chemistry and maths soon translated to his studies and a chemical engineering degree. This desire to learn aligns perfectly with his work at TWI, where he has worked on a variety of projects across all markets with unique challenges both big and small.

When it comes to innovation, Mihalis understands that failure is part of the process of trying new things and improving technologies with novel thinking. By learning from mistakes it is possible to turn projects into commercially viable, innovative products.

Polymers and Composites Technologies

TWI has, in fact, been developing composite technologies since the early 1980s, including design, modelling, processing, joining, NDT, repair, testing and failure analysis. This expertise crosses many different industry sectors and a variety of different requirements and applications. 

Composite materials can be processed in a number of ways, depending on the exact materials used and the complexity of the geometries, as well as the required production output.

A major aspect of the use of composites relates to the development of joining methods to similar or dissimilar materials. This requires the advancement of different joining technologies, which are often bespoke and customised to suit the geometries and materials involved and can either form part of the manufacturing process or become a separate process requiring machining or further surface treatments.

Composites processing is one of the key technologies of TWI, including single part manufacture and the incorporation of parts into larger assemblies. Over the years, TWI has successfully developed new innovative techniques along with a wealth of expertise in the more widely used processes.

In addition to the innovative and advisory work carried out by the Polymer and Composites Technologies Team, TWI is instrumental on a number of committees to develop, produce and revise standards related to polymers and composites in engineering.  


The Non-Metallic Innovation Centre

In addition to his role as Business Group Manager for TWI’s Polymer and Composite Technologies team, Mihalis is the Director of the newly-created Non-Metallic Innovation Centre (NIC).

The Innovation Centre has been created at TWI alongside Saudi Aramco Technologies Company (AramcoTech) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) to investigate and advance the use of non-metallic materials for industrial applications. This work will include developing technologies for new non-metallic pipeline solutions.

Due to their corrosion resistance, light weight and durability, non-metallics are being increasingly deployed throughout industries including oil and gas, construction, automotive, packaging and renewables.

The NIC is part of the Private Technology Innovation Partnerships (PTIPs) initiative at TWI, which works to address technology priorities, fostering open innovation and the commercialisation of technology with sponsors and supply chains.

The centre conducts a research programme covering Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1-9, alongside partners drawn from academic institutions, research centres and composite material manufacturers.

Speaking on the launch of the NIC, Mihalis said, “By bringing together TWI, AramcoTech and ADNOC to set up NIC, we can be assured of producing industry-led research, for the complete supply chain from R&D to production. NIC combines academia and industry so that there is a continuous chain between universities producing high-level research and industries that require academic-level analysis for real world applications.”

Mihalis (second left) at the opening of the Non-Metallic Innovation Centre
Mihalis (second left) at the opening of the Non-Metallic Innovation Centre