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The University of Southampton

Surface Engineering

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 research aims to solve next-generation tribological design issues and enable surface interactions to occur with minimal energy loss and impact on the environment. We link world-class research groups in key disciplines at the Southampton to develop enhanced capabilities in advanced computational and experimental tribology. We have also established strategic research partnerships, with access to facilities, with the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington (NPL) and with the tribology/metrology groups at Cambridge, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Leeds.

We will provide the next generation of underpinning technology in microsystems, engineering and engineering chemistry by developing these  interdisciplinary collaborations. We will increase the understanding of tribological processes at all scales and apply this to improve surface life.

Research will include developing sensors and novel probes for tribological processes, the tribology of renewable energy systems,  Tribology is the essential science of all interacting surfaces in relative motion, is immensely important to the successful operation of engineered machines and natural mechanisms of all scales, and demands multifunctional surfaces. It is core to future transport and energy-efficient machines, the control of emissions and low-maintenance renewable energy systems.

Natural products as marine antifoulants
Investigating marine antifoulants
Understanding Bearing Failure Modes
Understanding Bearing Failure Modes
Fatigue crack
Fatigue crack

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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