Engineering and the Environment

Research Group: Engineering Materials

Head of Group:  Professor Philippa Reed

The principal goal of our research activities is to develop fundamental understanding of the physical processes and interactive mechanisms in materials that affect the performance of engineering systems. This understanding and knowledge is then transferred into engineering technologies through enhanced materials performance and improved designs.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

Our researchers conduct research across a wide range of engineering materials and their applications in:

  • aerospace and automotive sectors
  • energy systems
  • electronic and biomedical devices
  • microsystems

Please see our research strengths for more detail

Our research activities are further stimulated by multidisciplinary collaborations with other research groups in Engineering and the Environment, and with many other research groups across the University. This provides an excellent forum for training high-calibre research students. It also strengthens our educational mission and provides undergraduates with an ideal environment for project work.

The Group comprises 15 academics, seven research fellows and 33 research students. Our staff occupy influential positions on international and national research committees, hold fellowships with the Institute of Materials, Mining and Mineralogy, have been elected to the Peer Review College of EPSRC and occupy editorial positions on leading international research journals, including Principal Editor of Materials Letters and Editor of Materials Science and Engineering.

Contact us

  • Engineering Sciences Unit

    Engineering and the Environment
    University of Southampton
    Highfield Campus
    Southampton SO17 1BJ

    Senior Administrative Officer: Sue Berger
    Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2871
    Administrative Officer: Jo Laryea
    Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 5568


The µ-VIS CT scanner in action

The µ-VIS CT scanner in action

What's related


Members of staff associated with this group:

Research projects

Research projects associated with this group:

Advanced non-volatile memories based on resistive switching

Nanoimprint lithography process development

Erosion-corrosion modelling

In-situ calibration of cohesive zone models for composite damage

Fluorescent solar collectors

Parameterisation and optimisation of impact and post-impact performance of composites for airframe light weighting

3D printing of PEEK and HA/beta-TCP tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds

Strengthening of alloys by refining grains to the nanometer scale

Reduction of downhole friction by electrochemical methods

Natural products as marine antifoulants

Abrasion-corrosion of cast CoCrMo alloy in simulated hip joint environments

Structure-Performance relationship in organic electronic devices

In-situ calibration of cohesive zone models for composite damage

Development of an antifouling system using environmentally acceptable and naturally occuring products

Development of automated condition monitoring using AI tools

Aerospace composite materials damage assessment by High Resolution Computed Tomography

X-ray Computed Tomography and image-based modelling of plant roots and nutrient uptake

Effect of surface defects on rolling contact fatigue of wheel/rail steels

High efficiency low cost solar cells

Microfluidic devices for structural health monitoring and integrity

MEMS components formed from nanostructural metals

Analysis of adhesively-bonded composite joints

Lightweight ceramic nanotubes reinforced polymer composite coatings and nanofibres with improved impact resistance and responsive functions

Evaluating homogeneity in AZ91 magnesium alloy processed by high-pressure torsion and equal-channel angular pressing

Short crack growth and propagation in steels under creep-fatigue cycling

Applications of artificial neural networks (ANNs) in materials property correlations exploration

Optimal materials selection and design of MEMS actuators

Antifouling coatings for warships

Life assessment methods for industrial steam and gas turbines

Towards insitu monitoring of tapestry degradation using strain based optical techniques

Tribological behaviour of ultrafine-grained alloys formed by severe plastic deformation

3D Imaging Of The Tensile Failure Mechanisms Of Carbon Fibre Composites

Teardrop cracking: mechanism and design criteria

Voids in carbon fibre reinforced epoxy composite

Abrasion-corrosion of downhole drill tool components

High efficiency low cost solar cells II

SPD processing of various metallic alloys

Microstructure, Microtexture and Properties of Ultrafine-Grained Metals and Alloys Processes by Severe Plastic Deformation

Light harvesting for high-efficiency low-cost solar cells

In-situ characterization of microstructure and fatigue performance of Al-Si piston alloys

Analysis of a Composite Materials using Multi-Scale Computed Tomography Techniques

Smart surface: nanoactuators for advanced tribological applications

Development of an improved fatigue model for composite materials

An evaluation of cohesive zone models for adhesive failure in bonded joints

Processing of nanostructured titanium for use in medical implants

High efficiency low-cost photosensitised crystalline silicon solar cells

Processing of a two phase alloy by severe plastic deformation

Finite element modelling of fatigue crack growth in multi-layered systems under large scale yielding conditions

Development of novel high strain rate tests

Early crack initiation processes in steel arc welds

Zinc cerium redox flow battery

Investigation of gold splutter coated vertically aligned multi-wall carbon nanotubes for RF MEMS contact surfaces

Health monitoring of new generation aircraft bearings

Chemical modification of silicon surfaces for solar cell applications

Nanoscale strengthening and deformation of Al-based alloys

Micromechanistic analysis of damage evolution in aerospace and automotive materials

Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) Composite Surfaces for Electrical Contact Interfaces

Microstructure and precipitation in Al-V-N microalloyed steels

Assessment of advanced nickel based turbine materials

Analysis of stump tissue mechanics of lower limb amputees

Sensor actuated smart interfaces incorporating bio-hybrid materials (biofilm sensing)

Adaptive numeric modelling in the production of gas cylinders

Computational electromagnetic modelling of 3D photonic structures

Assessment of complex electron beam textured rough surfaces

Reducing the cost of crystalline silicon solar cells by using fluorescent collectors

Condition monitoring to predict component wear

Processing of nanostructured materials for medical applications

Full-field data-rich experimental approaches to explain composite material and structural performance and its damage tolerance (DAMTOL)

Fabrication of MEMS components using ultrafine-grained aluminium alloys


Major facilities used within the Engineering Materials research group include:

The group is well-equipped with characterisation tools, including a state-of-the-art transmission electron microscope, field emission gun scanning electron microscope, a He ion microscope, access to an AFM, extensive electrochemical facilities and a major new X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner centre at μ-VIS.