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The University of Southampton
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Dr John Walker PhD

Lecturer in Advanced Surface Engineering

Dr John Walker's photo

Dr John Walker is Lecturer in Advanced Surface Engineering within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.


Dr John C Walker is a Lecturer in advanced surface engineering and characterisation within Engineering and Physical Sciences. He lectures in Lubrication and Engine Tribology, Materials for Transport Applications and Microstructure and Surface Characterisation. His research interests are in the areas of automotive light-weighting technology and scuff detection for hybrid vehicles, friction simulation for oil and gas drilling operations and surface modification of bio-engineering alloys.

Career History

Dr Walker was sponsored by Alcan International whilst studying for a Masters in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield in 2001. He worked for Alcan both in the UK and Canada before returning to Sheffield to gain a PhD investigating the lubricated sliding behavior of aluminium alloy composites in 2006. Prior to his appointment at the University of Southampton, Dr Walker has held post-doctoral research positions at the University of Sheffield investigating the tribological properties of nano-scale multilayer PVD coatings for aerospace applicatons and the University of Liverpool investigating rapid prototyping of ODS alloys as fossil fuel heat exchangers. Dr Walker has published over 25 international academic papers on his research with over 200 citations and has been awarded research funding from the Royal Society, EPSRC and industry.



Research interests

Dr Walker’s research interests are centred around the use of advanced characterisation techniques (such as electron and ion microscopy) to understand the effect of friction and wear of surfaces. Understanding these processes then allows us to engineer the surface to improve their tribological properties. His current research covers:

  •  Understanding the effect of start-stop hybrid operation on the formation of anti-wear additives in aluminium automotive engine blocks.
  • Trying to predict scuffing in the piston assembly and liner of fired diesel truck combustion engines.
  • Simulating the friction encountered when drilling oil and gas reserves.
  • Electron beam melting of metallic surfaces for bio-medical applications.

Research group

Energy Technology

Affiliate research group

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)

Research project(s)

Electron Beam Melting of Biomedical Alloys

Scuffing in piston assembly and liner of fired combustion engines

Scuffing in automotive engines has increased in both frequency and severity which has led industry to undertake development of a new heavy duty (HD) engine test that will assess the scuff resistance of lubricants. This is planned to be part of a scuffing test standard to be introduced in January 2016. This program of work aims to understand the fundamental causes and events leading to piston ring and liner scuffing by developing new and novel bench test capabilities that will contribute to the set of tests developed for the scuffing test standard.

Simulating the friction encountered in oilfield operations

This is a two year project aiming to design and build a novel friction simulation device at the National Centre for Advanced Tribology. The project will allow us to re-create in the laboratory the conditions that occur during oilfield exploration. This will allow better understanding as to the conditions and effects that arise from friction when exploring for hydro-carbon reservoirs or to reach geothermal energy sources.

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Book Chapter

  • Ross, I. M., Rainforth, W. M., Zhou, Z., Walker, J. C., Reinhard, C., Ehiasarian, A. P., Hovsepian, P. E., Braun, R., & Leyens, C. (2008). Oxidation characteristics of gamma-TiAl-8Nb coated with a CrAlYN/CrN nanoscale multilayer coating. In Y-W. Kim, D. Morris, R. Yang, & C. Leyens (Eds.), Structural Aluminides for Elevated Temperatures Gamma Titanium and Other Metallic Aluminides (pp. 315-322). (Structural Aluminides for Elevated Temperatures Symposium held at the TMS 2008 Annual Meeting and Exhibition)..



Module Code Module Title Discipline Role
SESM6031 Lubrication and Engine Tribology Mechanical Engineering Tutor
SESG6044 Microstructual and Surface Characterisation Mechanical Engineering Tutor
SESG6042 Microstructural Engineering for Transport Applications Mechanical Engineering Tutor
Dr John Walker
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number: 7/5017/M7

Facsimile: (023) 8059 3016

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