Research within the Centre for Materials & Structures combines blue sky / theoretical work with a strong applied focus, collaborating with academic and industrial partners.

Structures research

Through our Impact Research Centre we are gaining new insights into how structures respond to different forces or conditions.

From developing blast-proofing features for aviation cargo containers to exploring more resilient approaches to oil & gas rig design, we are making the world a safer, more efficient, more sustainable place.

Much of our work focuses on lightweight structures, including the application of composites, additive layer manufacture and cellular materials.

Lead staff:

  • Dr Graham Schleyer

Materials research

Our Structural Materials Research group specialises in developing: Aerospace materials such as fibre metal laminates and carbon fibre composites; composite manufacturing processes; porous materials for cooling, noise reduction and insulation.

Lead staff:

  • Dr Peter Fox
  • Dr Zhongwei Guan
  • Dr Bob Mines
  • Professor Eann Patterson
  • Professor Gordon Tatlock
  • Dr Yuyuan Zhao

Our Functional Materials Research Group works with large industrial organisations in fields such as micro-electronics, power electronics and architectural glazing. It also collaborates with the Stephenson Institute on novel materials for use in photo voltaic cells.

Lead staff:

  • Professor Paul Chalker
  • Dr Richard Potter

Electron Microscopy

With its modern facilities and concentration of expertise, the University of Liverpool is a prominent international centre for engineering microscopy.

NiCaL is our DCLG-funded facility, based on our central Liverpool campus. It offers industry and academic researchers world class resources for exploring how materials and manufacturing processes operate at the atomic scale.

In addition we are a major contributor to the SuperSTEM project at Daresbury Laboratory, providing academic researchers with two EPSRC-funded, aberration corrected, scanning transmission electron microscopes.

Lead staff:

  • Professor Gordon Tatlock

Manufacturing research

Laser manufacturing research

We have the UK's largest University-based research group for laser materials processing, with high power laser facilities on campus and at the Laser Engineering Centre at Lairdside, near Liverpool.

Our people are pursuing innovative research and industrial development programmes, in fields such as welding, cutting, marking, surface treatments and novel laser-based processes.

Lead staff:

  • Dr Geoff Dearden
  • Dr Stuart Edwardson

Additive manufacturing research

Much of our current work centres on the Biomechanics field, in collaboration with leading Health and Life Science organisations. Specialisms span both laser and inkjet based additive manufacturing techniques.

Lead staff:

  • Dr Chris Sutcliffe

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-based Production Processes

A new £12m UK National Centre led by Heriot Watt University involving 31 industrial partners to develop new ways of using lasers in UK manufacturing, enabling UK industry to take advantage of the latest innovations and developments in this rapidly growing field. 

Laser-based manufacturing is a global multi-billion dollar industry with significant business opportunities. The past 25 years have seen industrial lasers replace many ‘conventional’ tools in many diverse areas of modern manufacture, enabling increased productivity, functionality and quality. 

The new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-based Production Processes, supported by £5.6m of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and £4.8m from UK manufacturing industry, will open the door to a diverse range of new laser-based production processes and technologies, helping UK industry to take maximum advantage of these major advances by bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of leading UK researchers and key industry partners.

Lead staff:

  • Dr Chris Sutcliffe

Biomechanical Engineering

Our group of structural engineers is interested in the structural properties of the body and especially of the eyes, heart and bones.

By applying engineering techniques to these fields we are gaining novel insights into biological processes and discovering new, improved materials for use for example in contact lenses and implants.

Our principal partners in the Biomechanical Engineering field are:

Lead staff:

  • Dr Riaz Akhtar
  • Professor Ahmed Elsheikh
  • Dr Steve Jones

Biomedical Engineering

The biomedical engineering group works at the interface between engineering and life sciences.  Research is focussed on controlling cell behaviour (mammalian and bacterial) through the nanoscale engineering of materials surfaces. Therefore the overall focus of the group is innovation of biomaterials design for regenerative medicine, tissue engineering  and infection control.  The research transcends many disciplines and involves collaboration with the medical and veterinary schools. 

Lead Staff:

  • Dr. Jude Curran
  • Dr. Raechelle D’Sa