Processing of Advanced Materials - Professor Patrick Grant

Processing of Advanced Materials Group

Welcome to the page for Patrick Grant, Vesuvius Professor of Materials, and the Processing of Advanced Materials research group at Oxford University. Our research takes place at the interface between advanced materials and manufacturing. Particular applications include electrodes for energy storage and advanced metallic alloys 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 primarily 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. Examples of our research, the group equipment and research outputs are described below. Please get in contact if you would like any further information.

- Publications -

Some recent journal publications:

Multi-layered high power Li4Ti5O12 and high capacity SnO2 electrodes for smart lithium ion storage, S.-H. Lee, C. Huang and P.S. Grant, Energy Storage Mat., accepted.

Amorphization in extreme deformation of the CrMnFeCoNi high-entropy alloy, S. Zhao, Z. Li, C. Zhu, W. Yang, Z. Zhang, D.E.J. Armstrong, P.S. Grant, R.O. Ritchie and M.A. Meyers, Sci. Adv., 7 (2021), eabb3108.

New nanoscale artificial pinning centres for NbTi superconductors, T. Mousavi, P.S. Grant, S. Speller and C.R.M. Grovenor, Mat. Des., 198 (2021), 109285.

A solid state battery cathode with a polymer composite electrolyte and low tortuosity microstructure by directional freezing and polymerization, C. Huang, C.L.A. Leung, P. Leung and P.S. Grant, Adv. Energy Mat., 11 (2021), 2002387.

3D imaging of lithium protrusions in solid-state lithium batteries using X-ray computed tomography, S. Hao, J.J. Bailey, F. Iacoviello, J. Bu, P.S. Grant, D.J.L. Brett and P.R. Shearing, Adv. Func. Mat., (2020), 2007564.

4D Bragg edge tomography of directional ice templated graphite electrodes, R.F. Ziesche, A.S. Tremsin, C. Huang, C. Tan, P.S. Grant, M. Storm, D.J.L. Brett, P.R. Shearing and W. Kockelmann, J. Imaging, 6 (2020), 136.

An overview of in situ mapping of chemical segregation using synchrotron X-ray imaging, S. Feng, E. Liotti, M.D. Wilson, L. Jowitt and P.S. Grant, MRS Bulletin, 45 (2020), 934-942.

High energy lithium ion capacitors using hybrid cathodes comprising electrical double layer and intercalation host multi-layers, S.H. Lee, C. Huang and P.S. Grant, Energy Storage Mat., 33 (2020), 408-415.

2020 Roadmap on solid-state batteries, M. Pasta, P.S. Grant, P.G. Bruce et al, J. Phys. Energy, 2 (2020), 032008.

Scalable multilayer printing of graphene interfacial layers for ultrahigh power lithium-ion storage, S.-H. Lee, C. Johnston and P.S. Grant, Energy Tech., 8 (2020), 2000253.

Electron microscopy and atom probe tomography of nanoindentation deformation in oxide dispersion strengthened steels, T.P. Davis, J. Haley, S. Connolly, M.A. Auger, M.J. Gorley, A.J.Wilkinson, S.G. Roberts, P.S. Grant, P.A.J. Bagot, M.P. Moody and D.E.J. Armstrong, Mat. Character., 167 (2020), 110477.

Evaluation of the Laguerre-Gaussian mode purity produced by 3D-printed microwave spiral phase plates, D. Isakov, Y. Wu, B. Allen, C.J. Stevens, P.S. Grant and G. Gibbons, Roy. Soc. Open Sci., 7 (2020), 200493.

In-situ X-ray radiography of primary Fe-rich intermetallic compound formation, S. Feng, E. Liotti, A. Lui, M.D. Wilson, T. Connolley, R.H. Mathiesen and P.S. Grant, Acta Mat., 196 (2020), 759-769.

Effect of the sintering temperature on the microstructure and superconducting properties of MgB2 bulks manufactured by the Field Assisted Sintering Technique, G. Matthews, S. Santra, R. Ma, P.S. Grant, C.R.M. Grovenor and S.C. Speller, Supercond. Sci. Technol., 33 (2020), 054003.

In situ X-ray radiography of twinned crystal growth of primary Al13Fe4, S. Feng, Y. Cui, E. Liotti, A. Lui, C.M. Gourlay and P.S. Grant, Scripta Mat., 184 (2020), 57-62.

Design and characterisation of ex-situ bulk MgB2 superconductors containing a nanoscale dispersion of artificial pinning centres, G. Matthews, J. Liu, C.R.M. Grovenor, P.S. Grant and S.C. Speller, Supercond. Sci. Technol., 33 (2020), 034006.

Active metamaterials with negative static dielectric susceptibility, F. Castles, J. Fells, D. Isakov, S.M. Morris, A.A.R. Watt and P.S. Grant, Adv. Mat., 32 (2020), 1904863.

In-line measurement of the dielectric permittivity of materials during additive manufacturing and 3D data reconstruction, L. Fieber, S. Bukhari, Y. Wu and P.S. Grant, Additive Manufact., 32 (2020), 101010.

Electrochemical mechanics of metal thin films: charge-induced reversible surface stress for actuation, C. Cheng, P.S. Grant and L. Luhrs, Adv. Electron. Mat., 6 (2020), 1900364.

Combining composition graded positive and negative electrodes for higher performance Li ion batteries, C. Cheng, R. Drummond, S.R. Duncan and P.S. Grant, J. Power Sources, 448 (2020), 227376.

Low-tortuosity and graded lithium ion battery cathodes by ice templating, C. Huang, M. Dontigny, K. Zaghib and P.S. Grant, J. Mat. Chem. A, 7 (2019), 21421-21431.

Single-step spray printing of symmetric solid state batteries based on porous organic dye electrodes, P. Leung, J.F. Bu, M.R. Roberts, P. Quijano Velasco, C. Johnston and P.S. Grant, Adv. Energy Mat., 9 (2019), 1901418.

Co-spray printing of layered honeycomb LiFePO4 cathodes and a hybrid LAGP-PEO electrolyte for an all-solid-state Li-ion battery, J. Bu, P. Leung, C. Huang, S.H. Lee and P.S. Grant, J. Mat. Chem. A, 7 (2019), 19094-19103.

Overcoming diffusion limitations in supercapacitors using layered electrodes, R. Drummond, C. Huang, P.S. Grant and S.R. Duncan, J. Power Sources, 433 (2019), 126579.

Single-operation, multi-phase additive manufacture of electrochemical double layer capacitor devices, L. Fieber, J.D. Evans, C. Huang and P.S. Grant, Additive Manufact., 28 (2019), 244-353.

The essential role of cavitation bubble fraction in controlling acoustic streaming: relevance to ultrasonic liquid metal processing, G.S.B. Lebon, I. Tzanakis, K. Pericleous, D. Eskin and P.S. Grant, Ultrasonics Sonochem., 55 (2019), 243-255.

Layer-by-layer printing of multi-layered heterostructures using Li4Ti5O12 and Si for high power Li-ion storage, S.H. Lee, C. Huang and P.S. Grant, Nano Energy, 61 (2019), 96-103.

Micro-scale graded electrodes for improved dynamic and cycling performance of Li-ion batteries, C. Cheng, R. Drummond, S.R. Duncan and P.S. Grant, J. Power Sources, 413 (2019), 59-67.

- More publications here -

- News -

New Faraday Institution project could revolutionise the manufacturing of battery electrodes

The group and a consortium of researchers from across the UK have been awarded approximately £12M for project Nextrode that will research new ways of making the electrodes found in the 6 billion (and growing) Li ion batteries produced every year.

Today's Li-ion batteries use electrodes that are made using a "slurry casting" process in which the active materials are mixed in a wet slurry and coated onto thin metallic foils, then dried and compressed. For the anode, the active material is typically graphite (a form of carbon), while for the cathode it is usually a more complex Li-based oxide. The slurry casting process is highly effective for mass production, but has been developed through trial and error. When the active material or the electrode formulation is changed, the time-consuming trial and error optimisation of the manufacturing process and the electrode microstructure must start again. The process also has limited opportunities for more careful tailoring of the electrode structure, which recent lab-scale and simulation work is beginning to show could be effective in boosting battery power, energy density and/or lifetime. However, until now, no such manufacturing technologies have been available at anything like approaching the required scale and throughput.

"Nextrode aims to strengthen the scientific understanding of existing electrode manufacturing, which we can then apply to bring more flexibility to slurry casting in order to realise battery performance improvements at industrial scale. At the same time, we will also develop a new generation of manufacturing approaches for 'smart' electrodes where the different electrode materials are arranged with greater precision and provide even greater performance benefits. This part of the work will be focused in Oxford, drawing on the expertise of our partners at Sheffield, Birmingham, Warwick, Southampton and UCL. We anticipate the benefits could be realised for almost any type of battery chemistry. We will also be working with a group of industrial partners who will help us apply our insights and ideas at industrial scale".

Nextrode is one of five new projects announced on 4 September by the Faraday Institution, with additional Oxford involvement in projects concerned with new cathode materials and lithium-sulphur batteries. In total, the Faraday Institution will award up to £55M to the five UK-based consortia to conduct application-inspired research over the next four years to make step changes in the understanding of battery chemistries, systems and manufacturing methods.

Studying crystallization using X-ray radiography and machine learning. We describe an X-ray radiographic study of the crystallization behaviour of liquid alloys using X-ray radiography and machine learning in Science Advances. Working with colleagues the Department of Engineering Science, we used machine learning techniques to teach a computer to automatically detect the nucleation of crystals in terra-bytes of X-ray radiographic videos obtained during solidification experiments at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). The quality of the videos combined with computer vision techniques allows the alloy composition at the point and instant of nucleation to be determined automatically, which in turn allows an estimate of the temperature and nucleation undercooling for every crystallization event. Studying thousands of nucleation events, we show how undercooling varies with solidification conditions, and explain how sudden bursts of crystallization are linked to the thermal-solute conditions in the liquid. Machine learning computer vision allowed enormous volumes of data that were unanalysable by hand to be converted robustly into distributions of nucleation undercoolings.

The group will lead the University's contribution to one of the UK's Future Manufacturing Hubs. The UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will invest £10M into the Manufacture using Advanced Powder Processes (MAPP) Hub, led by the University of Sheffield and also involving the universities of Oxford, Leeds, Manchester and Imperial College London; 17 industry partners; and six centres within the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

MAPP will focus on developing new powder-based manufacturing processes that provide low energy, low cost and low waste manufacturing routes and products for UK industry, and will be part of the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Materials Research. The work in the Processing of Advanced Materials group will concern novel uses of field assisted sintering for controlling the microstructure of structural and functional materials.

Right is our new Dr Fritsch field assisted sintering technique (FAST) apparatus. FAST is a powder consolidation process in which a pulsed direct current is passed through a green powder compact and/or a graphite die under vacuum and uniaxial pressure. Joule heating in the die and/or the compact (depending on die arrangement and materials used) reduces consolidation times from many hours to a few minutes. FAST is similar to the Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) process.

The FAST is being used to consolidate Fe, Cu and W based dispersion strengthened powders produced in-house for nuclear power applications, and solid-state electrolytes for batteries.

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

Research studentships

Research studentship opportunities in the group are given on the departmental website along with how to apply and closing dates for gathered field assessment of applications HERE

Post-doctoral positions

Funded post-doctoral research assistant jobs in the group are posted here as and when external funding is available - please check back later.

- Contact -

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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