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The University of Southampton

Structural Materials

Our research focusses on developing the fundamental understanding of physical processes and interactions in materials and surfaces that affect the performance of engineering systems.  This understanding and knowledge is then transferred into engineering technologies through enhanced materials and surface engineering performance resulting in improved designs.

Our internationally leading research programmes assess the performance of materials within engineering structures, with wide application to aerospace, automotive, marine and energy applications.  Our expertise in this area comprises:

complex fatigue, fracture, impact and strength testing of materials, joints and structures - experimental mechanics

complementary damage monitoring (TSA, DIC, ESPSI, PD, AE, X-ray CT, US, FO etc), quantitative microstructural analysis (EM, DSC, CT etc), complementary modelling approaches (physical, adaptive numeric, thermodynamic, FEA stress analysis, CZM); alloy development and smart structures. probabilistic approaches to materials/structural lifting and materials models in the design process

Materials systems we are currently assessing include:

a wide range of polymer matrix composite systems; high performance Al-alloys; Ni-based and steel high temperature alloys; nanostructured light alloys; multi-phase materials systems (including metallic, polymer based and hybrid composites, and functionally graded coatings) 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.

Cracking in Al-Si piston alloy
Composite damage
High temperature testing

We are 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, a major new X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner centre at μ-VIS and extensive surface engineering and tribology facilities for measurement and analysis at both the University of Southampton and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

Transport Systems Research Laboratory (TSRL)

Severe Plastic Deformation Processing Rigs

Micro dry powder processing and microfabrication

Solar Energy Laboratory

Electrochemical engineering lab

Materials Characterisation facilities

μ-VIS: multidisciplinary multiscale microtomographic volume imaging

Nanofabrication centre/clean rooms at ECS

Bioengineering laboratory

Sliding friction/wear



Abrasion wear


Properties of materials/coatings

If you are interested in joining us either to study or to become part of our research team please select the relevant link below for further information.

Funded PhD Opportunities

Postgraduate Taught Courses

Current job vacancies at the University of Southampton 

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