Functional Materials and Chemistry

Functional Materials and Chemistry

About the group

Research within this theme focuses on understanding how functionalising materials, via chemical and physical coating, surface modification processes and polymer technologies, can create advanced materials with properties that address major scientific and societal challenges. This includes:

  • The development of a printable, non-precious metal catalyst that can enable the selective metallisation of a range of non-conductive materials. This has been utilised to produce e-textiles with applications in smart clothing.
  • The preparation of electrocatalysts for the oxidation of ammonia coupled with the production of green hydrogen.
  • The development of electrodeposited composite coatings to eliminate lead from engine bearings.
  • The optimisation of electrowinning processes for metal recovery from bioleachates.
  • The design and production of multi-layer PVD coatings to create antibacterial materials.
  • Expertise in printing of materials on a range of substrates
  • The development of surface modification processes for additively manufactured components.
  • Investigations into novel sustainable polymer materials and flame retardants
  • Development of more sustainable electroless and electroplating processes and associated pre-treatments
  • The utilisation of ultrasound/sonochemistry to enhance chemical and electrochemical processes and reduce their environmental impact.

If you wish to find out more about this theme, please get in contact with Professor Andrew Cobley.

  • Our vision:

    To carry out novel, relevant and high impact materials research that benefits the environment and society. 

  • Our mission:

    The Functional Materials and Chemistry Group will add functionality and value to a wide variety of materials through interdisciplinary, collaborative research to develop materials and processes that are sustainable, that have low environmental impact but which are economically viable and industrially scalable.

Key researchers

Name Title Email
Professor Andrew Cobley Professor and theme Lead for Functional Materials and Chemistry
Dr John Graves Associate Professor
Dr Latha Krishnan Research Fellow
Dr Liang Wu Assistant Professor
Dr Golnaz Taghavi Pourian Azar   Research Fellow
Dr Samuel McMaster Materials Scientist KTP Associate
Dr Ming Zhu Research Fellow

Project spotlight

Research within this theme focuses on understanding how functionalising materials via chemical and physical coating, surface modification processes and polymer technologies can create advanced materials with properties that address major scientific and societal challenges

Find out more about some of our projects:

Electrolysis of water, showing gas bubbles liberated from graphite electrodes. Isolated on white background.


REWAISE will create a new “smart water ecosystem”, to embrace the true value of water, reducing freshwater and energy use, and recovering nutrients and materials from wastewater. Coventry University, in partnership with Severn Trent Water and Organics Ltd. is focusing on the recovery and conversion of ammonia in wastewater to green hydrogen. At the heart of the technology is a coated electrocatalyst designed to oxidise ammonia and generate low cost hydrogen for power generation. The results will contribute to a reduction in the carbon footprint of the wastewater treatment cycle and potentially help deliver the carbon pledges of the water companies involved in the project.

Two people seen from behind looking down at a messy table


(Metallisation of Textiles to make Urban living for Older people more Independent and Fashionable) is a project led by Coventry University, which is funded by the European Commission and involves 20 partners from 9 countries. It is a unique multi-disciplinary project that will bring electrochemists, materials scientists and experts in electronic manufacturing processes together with creative and artistic designers to produce smart textiles and fabrics with the aim of revolutionising assistive technology for older people.

sheet of metal with an orange appearance being dipped into blue coloured water

Bioleaching for the recovery of metals from electronic waste

This project is developing an innovative solution to extract valuable metals within printed circuit boards using bacteria. Microorganisms have been especially developed to extract metals from shredded electronic components and circuit boards. The metals are oxidised to produce soluble compounds which are concentrated and recovered as pure metals using electrodeposition techniques.

Crystal of galenite lead on white background


Lead is a heavy metal widely used in bearing materials for large‐bore engines but harmful to human beings and the environment. BeLEADFREE aims to deliver novel Lead‐free bearing materials by adopting innovative design & manufacturing and applying a multidisciplinary approach involving experts with extensive industrial, research and innovation skills.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021