School of Engineering

Advanced Materials

Advanced Materials


We work on a wide range of materials topics including new material development, optimising of materials processing, testing and evaluation at component scale and at high spatial resolution, modelling and failure analysis.

Every article, instrument, machine or device we use depends for its success upon materials, design and effective production.

Much of our work in the Advanced Materials research group is related to materials and processes for:

  • renewable energy generation
  • energy efficiency
  • carbon capture and storage

We also use biological and bio-inspired processes to develop new functional materials.

Find out more about our:

Research in Advanced Materials: Chemical Engineering - Graphene layers
Research in Advanced Materials: graphene layers


Read about our achievements in the Advanced Materials group

Since 2008 the Advanced Materials group has:

  • won over £3M in research funding from EPSRC, EU and industry
  • published more than 90 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings
  • graduated more than 20 PhD students
  • delivered more than 40 invited, keynote and plenary talks at international conferences including most recently a plenary at Nanoscale Multilayers, Madrid 2013 (Bull)

Prof Steve Bull is the 2013 recipient of the Tribology Silver Medal presented by the Tribology Trust. This is the top national award in this area.


Find out about our research projects.

A selection of our projects

Nanoscale optoelectronics

We are developing exciting new processes to form nanodiamonds. These have important applications as biological markers as a result of their unique optical properties.

Functionalised nanoparticles

Nanoparticles are used in a wide range of products – all the way from cosmetics to water treatment in developing countries. We design nanoparticles with novel properties to improve, for example, sunblocks or lubricants.

Property modelling

Our understanding of behaviour at the atomic level allows us to create models which describe relationships between the structure of a material and its properties. This work has been used in the design of products such as energy efficient solar-control coatings and self-cleaning glazings.

Materials for energy systems

We are developing new materials for use in renewable energy generation. We use our knowledge of material failure mechanisms to help improve the design of long-life plant for tidal power generation and carbon capture and storage systems.

Carbon capture and utilisation via catalysis

We are developing inorganic catalysts for carbon capture, utilisation and storage through ex-situ mineralisation. The purpose is to find permanent storage of CO2 with minimal energy input and accelerate the rates of the CO2 capture.

Recycling and waste management

We are looking at methods to reuse and recycle difficult materials such as glass fibre-reinforced polyester composites and rare earth magnets. We are developing novel methods to extract new and replacement raw materials using low energy processes.

Biomaterial engineering

Engineering of novel biomaterials has the potential to deliver exciting future technologies. We are currently working on materials for orthopaedics and biosensors.

Soft matter

Soft matter is a generic term for a range of materials with low compliance such as polymers, foams, emulsions and colloids and biological materials. It is characterised by multi component mixtures, large ranges of length and time scales and many interacting degrees of freedom. These characteristics lead to complex structures, phase behaviour and dynamics.

We are working on dynamic functional polymer systems, organic electronics and novel foams based on polyHIPEs for impact resistance and tissue scaffolds.

All projects in Advanced Materials


Discover the facilities we use in the Advanced Materials research group.

We have a range of facilities and equipment we use:

  • nanoindentation facilities for high spatial resolution mechanical testing
  • sensitive mechanical test frames for biomaterial assessment
  • test frames for environmentally assisted cracking
  • tribological testers (including scratch, pin-on-disc, abrasion, galling, twin disc rolling-sliding and components scale tests)
  • X-ray photoemission spectroscopy

Research Facilities

The school has state of the art shared facilities for research, which are available to all research groups, UG/PGT/PGR students during their research projects and to external partners via contracting or consultancy projects. The school shared facilities include:

  • Bioprocessing Laboratory - managed through the Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology Centre.
  • Merz Court Analytical Suite– A wide range of analytical and materials characterisation techniques are available in this suite, including:
    • Gas Chromatography equipped with a Barrier Ion Discharge (BID) detector, for gas and liquid sample analysis;
    • Raman Microscopy;
    • Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Spectroscopy;
    • Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) particle size analysis;
    • Electrophoretic Light Scattering for zeta potential measurements;
    • Static Light Scattering for molecular weight determinations;
    • Physi- and Chemisorption facilities for surface area (BET), pore size distribution and surface analysis;
    • Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC).
    • Stu Brew - Europe's first student-run brewery, operating commercially, affording hands on skills development and research in to sustainable brewing processes;


Find out who is involved in our Advanced Materials research group.

Professor Steve Bull
Cookson Group Chair of Eng Materials

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 2087913

Dr Alasdair Charles
Director of SAgE Faculty Foundation Year / Lecturer

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7900

Hassan Izadi Gonabadi
Research Associate in Energy Materials


Dr Da Li
Research Associate


Dr Katarina Novakovic
Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3683

Dr Marloes Peeters
Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 8281

Professor Lidija Siller
Professor of Nanoscale Science

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7858

Professor Mark Thomas
Professor of Carbon Science

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6839