The Research Centre in Surface Engineering

The Research Centre in Surface Engineering (RCSE) in the Department of Engineering Materials specialises in all matters relating to the production, evaluation and characterisation of coatings and surface treatments for engineering applications. We also work closely with partner laboratories within the Department of Engineering Materials (and groups in other University Departments), specialising in a variety of other topic areas where Surface Engineering is of relevance (eg. tissue engineering, magnetic thin films, coatings and treatments for energy applications).

The RCSE's main research emphasis is in the fields of plasma-based coating deposition and surface treatment process technologies. These include the development (by PVD processing) of new metallic nanocomposite & glassy-metal coatings with controlled mechanical properties, and plasma electrolytic processes for surface hardening – and other functional treatment – of light alloys (ie. those based on aluminium, magnesium and titanium). Such work has historically been funded both by EPSRC and by industrial sponsors. The group has also received substantial EPSRC grant funding to, for example, model and grow templated metal-oxide films at low temperature, and underpinning support for the centre is currently provided through an EPSRC Platform Grant award in Surface Engineering. At the moment, the group is involved in several joint Technology Strategy Board (TSB) / EPSRC funded “Technology Programme” projects, assisting UK industrial supply-chain and end-user companies to develop and commercialise novel surface-engineered products.

The team has also participated in many EU Framework projects over the years, the most recent of which was a Co-ordination Action grant (DESHNAF) to pursue the development of superhard nanocomposite coatings by plasma based processing routes, in collaboration with laboratories across Europe. The group also receives support from a variety of other funding bodies (eg. Royal Society; British Council), helping us to establish research links with Academic groups in countries such as the former Soviet Union (eg. Russia and the Ukraine), China and Taiwan. Other recent initiatives have extended the RCSE´s links with Academic and Industrial laboratories in the USA – maintaining our leading-edge position in key technologies, and helping us to work with and assist locally-based companies, for example through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs).

To find out more about the RCSE, please visit this link