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Teaching Fellow

MA, MSci University of Cambridge
PhD University of Cambridge

Teaching Fellow

As a Teaching Fellow I have responsibility for the development and delivery of the Department’s taught courses, both directly and by supporting other academic staff in the Department. I give a variety of lecture courses covering mechanical properties and polymeric materials, and I run the Department’s computing course.

Deformation of layered structures

I am interested in the behaviour of crystal defects, in particular the mediation of plastic flow by dislocations. I study the MAX phases as a model system that shows very easy plastic flow on the basal plane despite other ceramic like properties, such as high melting points, high specific stiffness, constrained stoichiometry etc. My work is primarily in adapting atomistic models of dislocations to incorporate the structural complexity of materials, and to verify these results by micromechanical testing.

Inferring mechanical properties

I am also researching the applications of computing to materials science. There are computational techniques, such as finite element modelling, which can accurately describe complex behaviours if the underlying material properties are known. I have worked with others in the Gordon Lab to invert this process and infer material properties from data that is convenient to gather experimentally, but complex to analyse geometrically.


An extremum  position of a [110]{001} dislocation in the NaCl structure. This position is symmetrical with respect to the sign of the atomic charges.
  • P.R. Howie, R.P. Thompson, S. Korte-Kerzel, W.J. Clegg, ‘Softening of non-metallic crystals by inhomogeneous elasticity’, Scientific Reports, 7, 11602 (2017)
  • J.E. Campbell, R.P. Thompson, J. Dean, T.W. Clyne, ‘Experimental and Computational Issues for Automated Extraction of Plasticity Parameters from Spherical Indentation’,  Mechanics of Materials, 24, 118-131 (2018)
  • J.E. Campbell, T. Kaufhaus, R. Vassen, R.P. Thompson, J. Dean, T.W. Clyne, ‘Mechanical properties of sprayed overlayers on superalloy substrates, obtained via indentation testing’,  Acta Materialia, 154, 237-245 (2018)
  • R.P. Thompson, W.J. Clegg, ‘Predicting whether a material is ductile or brittle’,  Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science, in press (2018)

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