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The University of Southampton

Structural materials performance

Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon Nanotubes

Professor Janice M. Barton
Dr Alan Chambers
Dr Nong Gao
Professor Philippa Reed
Professor Ian Sinclair
Professor S. Mark Spearing
Professor Marco Starink
Dr Shuncai Wang
Professor Robert Wood

The Engineering Materials research group has extensive and internationally leading research efforts in assessing the performance of materials within engineering structures, with wide application to aerospace, automotive, marine and energy applications.

Our expertise in this area comprises:

Materials systems we are currently assessing include:

Our research covers both processing and performance aspects, particularly addressing experimental mechanics, in-situ and post-failure imaging of failure modes (including advanced strain analysis approaches, 3D volumetric imaging), monotonic/cyclic failure mechanisms under a range of service conditions, kinetics of phase transformations, welding/joining and surface degradation.

Research is also being carried out on a range of modelling techniques directly applicable to engineering aspects of structural materials such as advanced metal processing, welding/joining and in-service performance.  This work includes:

Research in non-metallic and composite materials includes activities focused on atomic oxygen sensors for space applications, the effect of voids and ply drops on the durability of composite wind turbine blades, composite pressure vessel design, the strength and durability of polymer adhesives and a fundamental investigation of the mechanisms of degradation and techniques for the repair of antique tapestries.

Members of the group are also involved in Faculty-wide activities in the area of structural health monitoring.


The research benefits from collaboration with colleagues in the Computational Engineering and Design group and Electronics and Computer Science.  Recent and current external collaborators include QinetiQ, DSTL (Farnborough), GE, Luxfer Gas Cylinders, Alcan, Airbus, ALSTOM, Pechiney, Mahle, SP Systems, TCC, and Bondmaster.

A range of international academic collaborations includes colleagues from ENSA, Lyon, the University of Southern California, the British Council and the NRC, Ottowa.  

Our research strengths


Nano and micro-electrochemical systems

Surface engineering, corrosion and tribology

Electrochemical engineering

Materials processing

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