Research Area

Material Systems for Demanding Environments


For industrial applications demanding environments are present everywhere and corrosion is all around us; whether that is in energy production, the marine sector or the aerospace and automotive sector. Corrosion can also be important in the medical sector as implants need to function in very extreme and unusual conditions. It is important to have safe materials for biomedical components, as well as for these heavy engineering components for example plant, infrastructure and transport. We will design, make, characterise and test new material systems for demanding environments, supporting energy, transport and other sectors. This theme has a large research capability on nuclear fuel cladding and high-pressure, high-temperature research, including a large autoclave testing facility.

£2 Trillion

Annual global cost of corrosion is 3.4% of the global GDP

The overriding aim is to develop materials solutions and systems that will enable a ‘step-change’ in component development for applications in aggressive environments. A crucial aspect of developing these new material systems is to fully understand the relationship between the manufacturing parameters and performance of the material; a cradle-to-grave approach. Imagine the benefit of turbine blade coatings which were self-healing, or the environmental impact of erosion-resistant coated piping with sensor capability, the ecomonic and human impact of nuclear fuel assemblies could withstand accident scenarios for hours instead of minutes. Through the Royce collaboration these are all possibilities.

Materials for Demanding Environments


This research theme is led by The University of Manchester with strong links to the University of Sheffield, and will bring together activities and interests from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London, as well as UKAEA and NNL.

Equipment & Facilities

The high-quality microscopy facilities in the School of Materials, including the Henry Moseley X-ray Imaging Facility in the Photon Science Institute, is part of the University’s Royce capability, and the new 350m Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) will house further microscopy equipment when it opens in 2020.