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Voluntary Director of Research

MA University of Cambridge
PhD University of Cambridge

Composite Materials and Coatings

Our work is within the Gordon Laboratory, a framework for collaboration on the development and improvement of structural materials in various types of industrial and commercial usage. Much of our research is focused on the processing and properties of new types of material and coating, with modelling of both processing and performance characteristics forming an important part of the work. The Laboratory hosts a wide range of facilities for the processing and mechanical interrogation of advanced materials and surface coatings, including a unique set of three nanoindenters, one of which is housed in a vacuum chamber.

Plasma-spray and plasma-electrolytic-oxide coatings

Plasma-sprayed thermal barrier coatings are critical to the performance of gas-turbine engines. Our recent studies have clarified the microstructural changes that can occur under service conditions and the significance of these for the stability of the system. Plasma electrolytic oxidation is a novel surface engineering technology, involving repeated local dielectric breakdown of the growing oxide film. It can generate thick, highly adherent, thermally protective and wear-resistant coatings on a range of metallic alloys. Ongoing work covers process modelling and novel applications.

Composites, foams and fibre network materials

There has been extensive work within the group on various composite systems, often for very high temperature applications.  These include metallic fibre reinforced ceramics for highly demanding applications such as tuyeres in blast furnaces.  Particular emphasis is being placed on understanding and optimising the fracture toughness of these materials. There is also interest in fibre network materials, for which applications range from acoustic damping modules in gas turbine aeroengines, made from melt extracted stainless steel fibres, to ultrafine filters based on 5 nm diameter alumina fibres.  Investigations are also being carried out aimed at obtaining improved understanding of multi-layered ballistic protection systems.  All of these projects involve industrial partners and are focussed on specific applications.

Modelling of the sintering, and associated changes in thermal conductivity, arising during heat treatment of plasma-sprayed zirconia-based thermal barrier coatings


  • J Dean, A Bradbury, G Aldrich-Smith & TW Clyne, "A procedure for extracting primary and secondary creep parameters from nanoindentation data"Mechanics of Materials 65 (2013) p.124-134.
  • EK Oberg, CS Dunleavy, P Bourke & TW Clyne, "Electrical monitoring of crack propagation during quasi-static loading and ballistic impact of alumina plates" J. European Ceramic Society 33 (2013) p.2663–2675.
  • M Shinozaki & TW Clyne, "A methodology, based on sintering-induced stiffening, for prediction of the spallation lifetime of plasma-sprayed coatings"Acta Materialia 61 (2013) p.579–588.
  • V Su, M Terehov & TW Clyne, "Filtration Performance of Membranes Produced Using Nanoscale Alumina Fibers (NAF)" Advanced Engineering Materials 14 (2012) p.1088-1096.
  • SR Pemberton, EK Oberg, J Dean, D Tsarouchas, AE Markaki, L Marston & TW Clyne "The fracture energy of metal fibre reinforced ceramic composites (MFCs)" Composites Science and Technology 71 (2011) p.266-275.