The Composites, Adhesives and Soft Solids (CASS) group researches many aspects of polymer-matrix materials, including the development of new materials, understanding the deformation and fracture mechanisms, modelling their behaviour, and development of testing standards.

The multidisciplinary team is well-equipped with experimental facilities for the manufacture, characterisation and testing of polymeric materials. The finite element and analytical modelling work ranges from the microstructural scale to the performance of components.

There is a particular emphasis on predicting failure, and of understanding the underlying mechanisms. The research has found applications in such as the aerospace, automotive, construction, electrical and manufacturing industries.

Research into the deformation and fracture of polymers in the Mechanics of Materials Division started in the early 1960s, under Prof Sir Hugh Ford FRS. The Division has a history of innovative research into polymeric materials, recognised by the award of Fellowships of the Royal Society for Prof Gordon Williams and Prof Tony Kinloch.