Materials & Structures


Our materials research lies at the lower end of the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale (1 – 4) and focuses on Safety-critical applications. These include Improvements in safety, development of novel analytical methods, full component analysis, nano-scale mechanical properties, fundamental mechanistic understanding and methods for improvement in lifetime. By understanding in-service material behaviour and fatigue, we can support businesses in gaining competitive advantage and producing superior and more cost-effective products with longer lifespans. 

Our largest research area is Structural Integrity, where we model the properties of materials under different stresses typical of applications such as airframes or nuclear reactors, apply novel treatments such as laser shock peening to make materials less prone to cracking, and use advanced instrumentation to test the properties of materials. 

The Functional Materials group works on applying novel materials in engineering applications and also looks at changing the properties of materials using chemical treatments. They can, for instance, make fibres in clothing fabrics conductive, allowing sensors to be built into the clothes we wear.

The Materials Mechanics Measurement group researches techniques for measuring material properties from nano-indentation and atomic force microscopy, opening up the possibilities of non-destructive measurement of materials properties, and the generation of nano-engineered materials.