Processing of Advanced Materials


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.

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

Full list of projects in the PAM group and their sponsors

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


Research projects available


Research studentships:

o Manufacturing of oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) steels for nuclear energy applications

o Novel processing approaches to graded dielectric and magnetic composites for spatial transformations

o Novel processing of nanostructured films for energy storage

o Processing and properties of tungsten coatings for fusion reactors

o Spray forming of hierachical metal-metal composites

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

Postdoctoral positions:

Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Manufacture of Graded Materials for Novel Electromagnetic Applications

Grade 7: Salary in the range £29,837 - £32,590 p.a.

We are looking for a postdoctoral research scientist with experience in innovative approaches to the manufacture of polymer-based composites to develop new graded materials and devices to manipulate microwaves for cloaking, communications, wireless energy transfer, sensors and security. The post is available for up to 24 months, starting as soon as possible.

Vacancy ID : 111289 Closing Date : 31-Jan-2014

Postdoctoral Research Assistant in the Manufacture of Large Area Nanocomposite Films for High Power Capacitor Applications

Grade 7: Salary in the range £29,837 - £31,644 p.a.

We are looking for a postdoctoral research scientist or engineer with experience in innovative approaches to the manufacture of polymer-based composites in order to develop new high temperature lightweight capacitors for elevated temperature applications in the aerospace sector. The post is available for up to 36 months from 1 April 2014.

Vacancy ID : 111250 Closing Date : 31-Jan-2014

For more details visit Oxford University vacancies and enter the vacancy ID number given above


Spray forming of alloys

Spray forming is a specialist casting route for highly alloyed materials. Using our large scale equipment we are studying the processing and properties of Al-Li alloys, bulk nanostructured Al alloys, Ni superalloys and speciality steels.

Vacuum plasma spraying

Our research is focused on the manufacture of multi-millimetre thick tungsten and ceramic coatings on steel and other substrates. One of the key applications is very thick tungsten coatings for plasma facing components in fusion reactors such as ITER and DEMO.

Processing of nanostructures for energy applications

Nano-structured materials are attractive for energy storage applications because they can provide high specific surface areas leading to high energy densities. We are fabricating various novel nanostructured supercapacitors, using nanotubes and nanoparticles.



The archive gives brief details of projects that have finished, including freeze casting of ceramics, spray formed rapid tooling, smart composites, WINGNet - an EPSRC funded project on sustainability in the aerospace sector, electronic packaging for extreme environments and lead free solders for aerospace applications.




Our five most recent journal publications:

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) 769773. doi: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2013.08.069

Phase field simulation of binary alloy dendrite growth under thermal- and forced-flow fields: an implementation of the parallel multigrid approach, Z. Guo, J. Mi, S. Xiong and P.S. Grant, Mat. Trans. B., 44B (2013), 924-937. doi:10.1007/s11663-013-9861-5

Layer-by-layer spray deposition and unzipping of single-wall carbon nanotube-based thin film electrodes for electrochemical capacitors, C.A. Huang, N. Grobert, A.A.R. Watt, C. Johnston, A. Crossley, N.P. Young and P.S. Grant, Carbon, 61 (2013), 525-536. doi:10.1016/j.carbon.2013.04.107

One-step spray processing of high power all-solid-state supercapacitors, C.A. Huang and P.S. Grant, Scientific Reports, 3 (2013), 2393. doi:10.1038/srep02393.

Heavily loaded ferrite-polymer composites to produce high refractive index materials at centimetre wavelengths, L. Parke, I.R. Hooper, R.J. Hicken, C.E.J. Dancer, P.S. Grant, I.J. Youngs, J.R. Sambles and A.P. Hibbins, APL Mater., 1 (2013), 042108. doi:10.1063/1.4824039



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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