Who we are

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1987 and is housed in the Sir Robert Hadfield Building (pictured right). The School of Materials, as it was then known, was an amalgamation of the Department of Metallurgy and the Department of Ceramics, Glasses and Polymers and has since flourished becoming one of the largest centres for materials research in the UK, providing a focus for research innovation and collaboration.

The Department's excellence in teaching has been recognised nationally having been awarded 22 out of a possible 24 in the recent HEFCE teaching quality assessment. Our teaching is research-led and is therefore at the forefront of current knowledge making our Department a stimulating environment in which to study.

Wide ranging academic excellence

We have a strong history of excellence in materials research with many major research breakthroughs being made in Sheffield Materials Research Centres. For instance, the discovery of polymer electrolytes was made here and the role of carbide precipitation in the strengthening of ferrites was established. Some recent findings are listed below.

  • The first report of a liquid quasicrystal was made by Professor Ungar and Dr Zeng in 2004. This work describes a new state of soft matter possessing long-range order while lacking periodicity and having crystallographically-fobidden 12-fold symmetry. The finding points the way towards the creation of wide photonic bandgap materials through supramolecular self-assembly. Read more: "Supramolecular dendritic liquid quasicrystals", Letters to Nature, 428, (2004), 157-160.
  • Recently in collaboration with colleagues at Imperial College, London and the University of Cambridge, we have demonstrated a three-terminal logical NOT-gate made from magnetic nanowires. The device will be useful for creating parallel read-out of magnetic shift registers and in nanowire logic more generally for combining the NOT and signal amplification functions in a single element. Read more: "Magnetic domain wall serial-in parallel-out shift register", Appl. Phys. lett., 89, (2006), 102504-1-102504-3
  • An in-situ TEM nano-indenter capable of creating local deformation while simultaneously observing the deformation mechanics by TEM has been designed and fabricated. It can measure small forces of the order of 1┬ÁN. Read more: "A miniaturized TEM nanoindenter for studying material deformation in-situ", Meas. Sci. Technol., 17, (2006), 1324-1329.