Engineering and functional ceramics and metals

The engineering ceramics research activity strives to predict and engineer the structural and functional behaviour of ceramic materials through an understanding and manipulation of the microstructure and composition.


By considering both functional and structural requirements the research is developing novel applications in armour and protection, sensors and actuators, and energy harvesting and generation. This work is underpinned with the development of novel manufacturing techniques designed to allow ceramics to be integrated with other materials.

To find out more, go to our functional nanomaterials site.


The focus of our research on metals and alloys is on a range of specific industrial challenges where the manufacture and/or performance of alloys is often dependent on very complex physical phenomena. In many engineering materials and components the system is in a non-equilibrium state, providing a thermodynamic driver for these phenomena which is controlled by kinetic factors such as diffusion and interfacial energy.  

Interfaces, in particular, are sites where such processes give rise to microstructural changes which in turn influence material properties. Characterising and understanding these underlying physical phenomena can lead to improvements in the processing and performance of materials and components, as well as achieving more accurate lifetime predictions.

In much of our on-going work we study alloy microstructure and its evolution as a function of time and temperature using characterisation method including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and various surface analysis techniques.


  • Carbon control in the manufacture of WC-Co
  • Lifetime prediction of glass-to-metal seals
  • Characterisation of glass-to-metal seals at the micro- and nano-scale
  • Nano-indentation as a tool for predicting microstructure-property relationships
  • Process-structure-property relationships in CVD SiC monofilament production
  • CVD coatings for extreme conditions
  • Additive manufacture of age-hardenable aluminium alloys by wire and arc additive manufacture
  • Selected laser melting as a manufacturing route for flight certified metallic components


  • Rolls-Royce
  • Corewire
  • AWE
  • TWI
  • Lockheed Martin UK
  • Archer Technicoat Ltd
  • Frazer-Nash


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University of Surrey