Department of Mechanical Engineering


Contact details

Room: 4E 2.14
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 383213+44 (0) 1225 383213

PhD supervision

Interested in supervising students studying;

  • damage tolerance and fatigue of composite structures
  • elastic tailoring of composite structures with curved fibre paths
  • buckling, vibration and stability of structures
  • optimum through-thickness placement of multi-functional layers
  • novel methods for joining composite and metallic structures
  • fibre wrinkling & manufacture process modelling
  • failure prediction of structures with damage or manufacturing defects
  • use of CT scanning to assess manufacturing defects.

Professor Richard Butler



Professor Richard Butler obtained his BEng and PhD from the University of Wales, Cardiff. He was appointed as Lecturer in Aerospace Structures at Bath in 1990. Since then he has worked closely with aerospace manufacturers to understand and improve the structural performance of advanced wing structures and rotor blades.

He has recently been awarded a prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering - GKN Aerospace Chair in Composites Analysis.


Richard's research interests are currently focussed on the damage tolerance and elastic tailoring of composite structures. In particular, he has developed novel analytical methods for predicting the compressive strength of composite laminates following delamination damage. Such damage could either be sustained in service, or could arise from small manufacturing defects. 

Other interests include: the prediction of stability (as a result of buckling) in aerospace structures; the optimum placement of carbon or glass fibres in structures, and the development of novel methods for joining composite and metallic structures. Ongoing projects are exploring the use of future manufacturing capability, such as curved fibre paths and additive layer processes, to further improve structural efficiency.

Richard leads the Materials and Structures Research Centre which has a full suite of structural test facilities, along with the ability to use non-linear Finite Element software for verification and validation purposes. The team’s optimisation and analysis methods have been used to achieve strength and stiffness improvements of over 20%, leading to significant opportunity for savings in structural weight and fuel-saving potential.  Semi-analytical models have been developed to predict the formation of fibre-wrinkling defects during manufacture of complex structural components.

Teaching units

  • Solid Mechanics 4
  • Aerospace Structures I
  • Aerospace Structures II
  • Composite Materials.


Read publications by Richard Butler