Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Professor of Physical Metallurgy



+44 (0)20 7594 8707c.gourlay




301DBessemer BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





left to right: Al dendrite, Mg dendrite, FeSn2 crystal

Research centres on the Solidification Processing of alloys. Current and recent projects include:

Deformation during alloy solidificationin-situ imaging of deforamtion in equlaxe-dendritic semi-solid Al-ISca

We are exploring the analogies between deformation mechanisms in equiaxed solidifying alloys and saturated granular materials such as water-saturated sand.  Research is focussing on Al-based and Fe-based casting alloys. Part of the work involves directly measuring semi-solid deformation at the crystal-scale using synchrotron x-ray imaging.

Eutectic growthSn-Cu6Sn5 eutectic front

Directional solidification studies of Sn-based eutectics  are being used to reveal the dynamics of solidification in Pb-free solders.  Examples include the Sn-Cu6Sn5 eutectic, the univariant Sn-(Cu,Ni)6Sn5 eutectic, and the metastable Sn-NiSn4 eutectic.  The radiograph to the right shows a Sn-Cu6Sn5 eutectic front during growth at the SPring-8 synchrotron (with Kyoto University)

Solder joint formation and stabilityNi3Sn4layer in Sn-Ni solder joint

Solder joints between Sn-Cu-Ni solders and Cu and Ni substrates are under investigation. Projects include: (i) intermetallic compound formation in ternary Sn-Cu-Ni alloys, (ii) the influence of Ni additions on the stability of η and η’ Cu6Sn5, and (iii) reaction zone kinetics. In collaboration with Nihon Superior and the University of Queensland.

 High pressure die casting (HPDC) of Al and Mg alloys

Our team has conducted various projects on the formation of microstructure and defects in high-pressure die-casting (HPDC).  One approach is to link results from laboratory mush-mechanics experiments with microstructures in HPDC parts.  Another focus is on understanding how the HPDC process affects the nucleation and growth of intermetallics in HPDC alloys.

Current Research Group

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  • Dr. Jingwei Xian, Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Dr. Liuqing Peng, Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Dr. Yi Cui, Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Cheng-Jung Lin, PhD student
  • Sihan Sun, PhD student
  • Di Wang, PhD student
  • Wenhao Yu, PhD student
  • Xiaomei Shen, PhD student
  • Chen-Lin Hsieh, PhD student
  • Weiqi Chen, PhD student
  • Yankun Li, PhD student
  • Thanasis Zois, PhD student
  • Hongxuan Wang,  PhD student

Individual project descriptions are given on the Engineering Alloys theme webpages.

Group Alumni

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Graduated PhD students (* = second supervisor)

  • Armin Daszki, PhD 2021
  • Liuqing Peng, PhD 2021
  • Yi Cui, PhD 2021
  • Tianhong Gu*, PhD 2019
  • Te-Cheng Su, PhD 2019
  • Ning Hou, PhD 2018
  • Zhenqi Li, PhD 2018
  • Zhaolong Ma, PhD 2017
  • Hao Shang, PhD 2017
  • Jingwei Xian, PhD 2016
  • Phromphong Pandee*, PhD 2014
  • Kristina Maria Kareh, PhD 2013
  • Sergey Belyakov, PhD 2013
  • Bastian Meylan*, PhD 2010
  • Somboon Otarawanna*, PhD 2009

Postdoctoral Researcher Alumni