Processing of Advanced Materials


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Welcome to the research group page for Patrick Grant, Vesuvius Professor of Materials at Oxford University. Our research takes place at the interface between advanced materials and manufacturing. Particular applications include electrodes for energy storage and advanced metallics for power generation. Many of our research projects are concerned with solidification behaviour in complex alloys, and/or the use of liquid metal, ceramic or polymer droplet and powder sprays to create unusual materials. The group works closely with industry and other universities, and has many specialised synthesis and fabrication facilities. The group is based at Oxford University's Begbroke Science Park, approximately 5 miles north of Oxford. The Begbroke Science Park provides large-scale laboratories unavailable in Oxford - critical for manufacturing research at a meaningful scale - and the 350sqm Advanced Processing Laboratory is the hub for the group's research.

Chancellor visits our laboratory and announces £67m to boost Oxford innovation

On Tuesday 28 January 2014, the UK's Chancellor, George Osborne announced that 4 business ‘incubator’ centres in Oxford will between them receive £67 million of investment to develop world leading science technology. The government will provide £30 million to be complemented by industry, Local Authorities and Universities, taking the total to over £67 million for the area.

Visiting the Begbroke Science Park and the Advanced Procesing Laboratory, along with Nicola Blackwood MP, the Chancellor announced over £4million of funding to build a new ‘Innovation Accelerator’ for small high tech manufacturing businesses that specialise in robotics, parts for car and jet engines and superfast computers. The project, which will be funded by government and additional funding from Oxford University, will support researchers to get their products ready for market.

Commenting on the funding for Begbroke, Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: "Oxfordshire is already a powerhouse of innovation and wealth creation – it was recently ranked amongst the world’s top five ‘hotspots’ for innovation – and it is crucial that we build on the region’s unique strengths. Creating a regional environment in which entrepreneurial activity can thrive is good for Oxfordshire and good for Oxford University in its mission to continue to attrct the best students and researchers from around the world."

The PAM Group is involved in EPSRC Programme Grant Materials for Fission and Fusion Power (MFFP). The research focuses on gaining a thorough understanding, at the microstructural level, of key structural integrity issues which underpin development and application of alloys for high-flux, high-temperature neutron environments. Our role in the project is to research the manufacture of oxide dispersion strengthened steels and copper alloys, for use in future fusion power reactors.

The PAM Group is one of the core partners of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacture in Liquid Metal Engineering - LiME, involving Brunel and Birmingham Universities, and industrial partners. Click here to find out more about this major project to reduce dependency on primary metals, increase recycling and boost the performance of castings.

The PAM Group is also leading the manufacturing tasks in the EPSRC Programme Grant entitled The Quest for Ultimate Electromagnetics using Spatial Transformations (QUEST). The project involves three universities (Queen Mary, Exeter and Oxford) and focuses on developing practical applications of spatial transformations for communication, wireless energy transfer, sensors and security. The PAM Group is developing the new materials and manufacturing technology required for practical applications, including 3D printing, spray deposition, and variants of polymer-based casting.

The PAM group investigates the manufacture of next generation electrodes for supercapacitors and batteries as part of the EPSRC's SuperGen Energy Storage collaboration. Our work focuses on the manufacture of thin film electrodes based on nanomaterials including carbon nanomaterials and transition metal oxides. The group is also part of the EPSRC Grand Challenge: Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids, led by Imperial College London, and in February 2013, the group started work on project Flexible energy storage and generation systems funded by the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP). In all cases, the emphasis is on scale-up manufacture, often using bespoke equipment developed in the group.

Click HERE for details on our specific projects and facilities

Oxford Energy provides more information on how our work links with Oxford University's wider energy research activities.

Click on the images below for a gallery of photos of the group, visitors and other activities.

Research projects available

Research studentships:

o Novel processing approaches to graded dielectric and magnetic composites

o Novel processing of nanostructured films for energy storage

o Spray forming of high entropy alloys

o Synchrotron X-ray and optical in-situ measurement and analysis of solidification phenomena

How to apply and closing dates for the following projects are given HERE


Our five most recent journal publications:

Microstructural evolution at Cu/Sn-Ag-Cu/Cu and Cu/Sn-Ag-Cu/Ni-Au ball grid array interfaces during thermal ageing, V.M.F Marques, C. Johnston and P.S. Grant, J. Alloys & Compounds, (2014). doi:10.1016/j.jallcom.2014.05.200

Spray processing of TiO2 nanoparticle/ionomer coatings on carbon nanotube scaffolds for solid-state supercapacitors, C. Huang, N.P. Young and P.S. Grant, J. Mat. Chem. A, (2014). doi:10.1039/C4TA02188F

The structural changes of yttria in ferritic ODS alloys during mechanical attrition, I. Hilger, M. Tegel, M. Gorley, P.S. Grant, T. Weissgarber and B. Kieback, J. Nucl. Mat. 447 (2014), 242-247. doi: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.01.026

A synchrotron X-ray radiography study of dendrite fragmentation induced by a pulsed electromagnetic field in a Al-15Cu alloy, E. Liotti, A. Lui, R. Vincent, S. Kumar, Z. Guo, T. Connolley, M. Hart, L. Arnberg, R. Mathiesen and P.S. Grant, Acta Mat., 70 (2014), 228-239. doi: 10.1016/j.actamat.2014.02.024

An in-situ powder neutron diffraction study of nano-precipitate formation during processing of oxide-dispersion strengthened ferritic steels, H. Zhang, M.J. Gorley, K.B. Chong, M.E. Fitzpatrick, S.G. Roberts and P.S. Grant, J. Alloys & Compounds, 582 (2014) 769-773. doi: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2013.08.069


Professor Patrick Grant
Department of Materials, Oxford University
Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PH, UK
T: 44-1865-283763 or 283324
F: 44-1865-848785

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