Professor Clement Hiel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel





Student Guides

Current Research




President, Composite Support & Solutions Inc.
San Pedro, CA, April 2001 to present
In April 2001, Dr. Hiel founded Composite Support & Solutions Incorporated (CSSI) to develop innovative contributions related to materials and processes.  Additionally, the company is organized to expand and pass on a knowledge base in composite materials technology.  As such the company pushes the leading edge of technology, is very hands-on, and operates on its motto “Experimentation Leads to Failure and Failure Leads to Knowledge.”  Dr. Hiel manages and directs a fast growing team of 18 people.  (Many of the projects performed by CSSI are proprietary to the customer; therefore, the facility is closed to the public.)  CSSI’s major projects include:

  • A ceramic-composite firewall system trademarked “Intelli-Firewall” to protect critical electrical utility infrastructure from hydrocarbon fires.  The design, manufacturing process development, sales, and marketing are all managed by CSSI.  Current customers are Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric,Tucson Electric Power, and Nevada Power. (
  • Freeway sign bridge structures (Funded by CALTRANS)
  • Radar towers based on innovative snap joint connections (Funded by U.S. Air Force)
  • Next generation composite wind turbine towers (Funded by DOE)
  • Space Frame Snap Joint Technology Development (Funded by BAE systems/ U.S. Army Tank Command)
  • Development of a field-installable utility powerpole fire protection system (Funded by CSSI)

Co-Founder, Clean Baking Products
June 2001 to present:       
One of three founders and shareholders in this small business formed in 2001 to develop baking pans and related products manufactured from high-tech engineering polymers.  Activities performed in the development of these products covers the entire spectrum, from design through baking test, test report and documentation preparation, public relations and management of development facility.  Clean Baking Products currently provides high-tech composite baking products to over 3000 industrial customers. (

Technical Director, W. Brandt Goldsworthy and Associates, Inc
December 1996 – May 2001
Responsible for innovative design strategies for affordability and manufacturability of advanced composites.  Supervised technology-development projects on pultrusion, filament winding, and advanced tape placement.  Also performed major design efforts in thermoplastic materials including design and analysis of offshore oil platform structures, automotive components, pressure vessels, and thin-walled composite structures.  Was the NIST, DOE, and CEC principal investigator for development of a new “Composite Reinforced Aluminum Conductor” (CRAC). He single-handedly wrote all the proposals for “CRAC” which then funded the entire CRAC project at Goldsworthy. Led efforts in fastenerless joining systems applied to ISO (International Standard Organization) containers, and emergency shelters and earthquake resistant housing.

Principal Investigator, Composite Materials Research, NASA- Ames Research Center/ Sverdrup Technology
August 1987 - December 1996
Research and development on composite designs, failure analyses, through-the-thickness properties, design and development of composite wind-tunnel compressor blades; established fabrication procedures and quality control tests for highly curved composite parts.  Assessed the behavior of protective coatings in a wind-tunnel environment and evaluated their protection against foreign-object damage.

Full Professor/Associate Professor, Department of Materials Engineering and Mechanical Constructions (MEMC), University of Brussels (VUB)
Belgium, October 1984- Present
Interacted with industry on problems in the area of composite-materials fabrication, design, analysis, and testing.   Developed procedures to make adhesive-bonded joints durable.  Taught courses in "Theory of Composite Materials", "Strength of Materials", "Characterization of Composites and Adhesives", "New Materials", "Technology of the Aeronautical and Space Industries", "Viscoelasticity and Plasticity", "Experimental Stress Analysis.”

NASA-Postdoctoral fellow (U.S.A. - National Research Council) Test Engineering and Analysis Branch - Ames Research Center
October 1983- October 1985
Worked on a methodology to predict the durability of composite materials

Instructor/Research Associate, Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech
October 1981- August 1983

Research Associate at Free University of Brussels (Belgium)
September 1978- October 1981