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Research degrees
Research areas
Materials engineering
Energy materials

Energy materials

The OU Materials Engineering Group research into Energy materials falls into two main categories: materials research for nuclear and conventional power station applications; and nonoscale and surface engineering.

Materials used in conventional and nuclear power generation experience some of the harshest operating environments imaginable. The Materials Engineering Group has a wide range of characterisation equipment suitable for this class of material, including state-of-the-art electron microscopy, thermal cycling and creep facilities and non-contact strain measurement equipment. Most projects in this research area are undertaken in close collaboration with UK and European industry or as part of large European consortia.

Nanoscale energy and surface engineering focuses on energy harvesting and storage materials, paying particular attention to surface engineering of 2D materials such as Graphene, boron nitride and Molydenum oxide/supphides for PV and batteries/hydrogen energy applications. Synchrotron based techniques from US, UK and European facilities are used to address key fundamental challenges in these materials.

Qualifications available

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Research degree fees.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 in a relevant engineering, materials of physical science subject

Potential research projects

Available through the ICO Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Power

Current/recent research projects

  • Graphene assisted low cost energy efficient solar cells (GALES)
  • Spatially resolved digital image correlation applied to creep strain characterisation in power plant weldments
  • Creep crack growth in nickel superalloys
  • Smart nanomaterials for flexible supercapacitors
  • Graphene composites for fuel cells
  • Creep fatigue of ODS steel
  • Raman-based characterisation of phase fraction and residual stress in zirconium fuel cladding material
  • EBSD as a tool for creep damage quantification in power plant steels

Potential supervisors


Power station

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

John Bouchard, Professor of Materials for Energy
Email: STEM-EI-Research
Phone: +44 (0)1908 655799