Engineering alloys is a vibrant research team based on the Imperial College Campus in South Kensington. Currently we have a wide ranging and active research portfolio, with funding in excess of £15m in current funding, with over £10m of that government support and over £5m of industrial support, including several large collaborative projects. Our expertise focuses towards the science and engineering of metallic materials, from solders to jet engine and nuclear materials, as well as materials for oil & gas, automotive steels and aluminium alloys. Topics investigated range from solidification and the state of the mushy zone to experimental and theoretical micromechanics, using techniques including processing, numerical modelling, and transmission and scanning electron microscopy.
Our recent success builds upon a rich history of metallurgy research at Imperial College, with John Percy as the first Head of the Metallurgy Department in 1851. He was followed by William Roberts-Austen, after whom Austenite is named, and key achievements over the years have included laying the foundations for the growth of large metallic single crystals (Harold Carpenter), developing the field of extraction metallurgy (Denys Richardson) and building one of the first electron microscopes (Don Pashley).
Prof Fionn Dunne (who holds a Professorial Chair sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Rolls-Royce) leads the Hexmat programme grant on hexagonal metals, directs the Rolls-Royce Nuclear UTC, and co-directs the AVIC-BIAM centre. His expertise is wide ranging and currently focuses on micromechanical modelling addressing micro-deformation, fatigue and sonics for texture measurement. Prof David Dye (who holds an Industrial Fellowship sponsored by the Royal Society and Rolls-Royce) works on the micromechanics of titanium, steels, zirconium alloys and develops new Ni-Co based superalloys. Prof Trevor Lindley is the longest standing theme member, working on fatigue. Dr Chris Gourlay (who holds an EPSRC Fellowship for Growth) works on solidification and the mushy state in both solders and aluminium alloys, with an interest in synchrotron X-ray imaging. Dr Baptiste Gault has recently joined the theme as a joint appointment with MPIE Dusseldorf and focusses on nanocharacterisation of materials at the atomic scale, typically with atom probe tomography. Dr Mark Wenman focuses on the modelling of cracking and structural integrity issues in reactor zirconium and stainless steels for nuclear power. Dr Ben Britton (who holds a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowship) works in experimental micromechanics and microscopy developing new insight into high-value high-risk alloys and new measurement capabilities for applications in aero, oil & gas, and nuclear alloys. Dr. Minh-Son (Son) Pham focusses on additive manufacturing, including design of new structures, as well as microstructural/mechanical characterisation & constitutive modelling of steels and alloys in manufacturing. Dr Stella Pedrazzini works on understanding oxidation and corrosion of metallic systems using advanced characterisation techniques and applying this to the design of new improved alloys for applications including aero-engines, Formula One cars and industrial gas turbines.
Over the last few years, a significant focus on the micromechanisms of deformation has emerged, with the team contributing to a renaissance in metallurgy, linking the underlying metals physics at multiple time and length scales to the engineering and application of industrial materials.