Professor Russell J HandRussell Hand

Professor of Glass Science & Engineering
Past-President of the Society of Glass Technology

Director of Learning & Teaching, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5465
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5943

Address: Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Sir Robert Hadfield Building, Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD

Russell Hand joined the Department in 1989, from Cambridge University, as the Redland Research Fellow. He was appointed to a Lectureship in 1990 (Senior Lecturer 2001; Reader 2010; Professor 2012) and in 1999 obtained an MEd in Teaching and Learning for University Lecturers. From 2001 to 2012 he served as Sub-Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the Faculty of Engineering and then Deputy FLTD Engineering. From 2013 to 2015 he was course director for the cross-Faculty Aerospace Engineering degrees. Between 2014 and 2017, Russell was Head of the Interdisciplinary Programmes Office, Faculty of Engineering.

Research interests

Russell has wide ranging research interests in glass with a particular foci on waste vitrification (linked to the Immobilisation Science Laboratory) and the mechanical properties of glass. Please contact Russell directly for details of currently available PhD projects.

  1. Radioactive waste vitrification
    Research is focussed on glass composition development for the immobilisation of "difficult" anionic species and legacy wastes into vitreous wasteforms. His group is currently working on developing novel glasses for the vitrification of Mo containing wastes and understanding the crystallisation of Mo containing phases in current waste glass compositions.
  2. Sensing using reinforcing fibres in polymer matrix composites
    Research is focussed on developing novel glasses for reinforcing fibres that can be used for both chemical and damage sensing in polymer matrix composites. This research is being undertaken in collaboration with CSIC.
  3. Durability of nuclear waste glasses
    Research is focussed on understanding the effects of high pH environments on the durability of nuclear waste glasses using laboratory based durability test methods. In addition he is responsible for the field based long term glass burial site at Ballidon (a limestone environment), an experiment now in its 44th year, and which involves collaboration with Dr Strachan from Pacific North-West National Laboratory, USA.
  4. Mechanical properties of glasses
    Research is focussed on examining the effects of composition on the mechanical properties of silicate glasses. His group has previously demonstrated the important role of MgO in these glasses and we are currently investigating this further. We have also studied the mechanical properties of nuclear borosilicate glasses. His group is also focussing on assessing the changes in near surface mechanical properties of glasses due to hydration by nanoindentation and at the effects of high temperature mechanical contact on surface damage and thus the practical strength of bulk glass.
Research group

Research students:

  • Qasid Ahmad (Solar melting of glass)
  • Daniel Backhouse (Durability of nuclear waste glasses in high-pH environments)
  • William Dempster (Glass enamels)
  • Hande Gover (Glass strengthening techniques)
  • Lawan Grema (Sealing glasses for SOFCs)
  • Norfadhilah Ibrahim (Mechanical properties of boroaluminosilicate glasses)
  • Erhan Kilinç (Compositional modifications to improve the mechanical properties of bulk silicate glasses)
  • Caroline McCalman (Nuclear energy and the implications for environmentalism)
  • Michal Miekina (Crystal formation during the vitrification of HLW in Ca/Zn base glass)
  • Hammad Uddin (GICs containing novel glass flakes)


  • Dr Clive Brigden
  • Dr Shengheng Tan

Project students:

  • Qiaosong Cai (Water in borosilicate glasses)
  • Meng-Hui Lin (High refractive index glass fibres for self-sensing composites)
  • Yixin Liu (Colour in glasses)
  • Tes Monaghan (Durability of medieval glasses)
  • Joshua Radford (High refractive index glass fibres for self-sensing composites)
  • Chenguang Zhou (Colour in glasses)
Learning and teaching interests

FAN - Faculty Aerospace Network logoAs well as being an active researcher Russell makes significant contributions to learning and teaching within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Engineering. He is currently Head of the Interdisciplinary Programmes Office (IPO) in the Faculty of Engineering. This is the unit responsible for the administration of the cross-Faculty degrees Aerospace Engineering, Bioengineering and MEng Engineering as well as the Science & Engineering Foundation Year. He is also Director of Learning and Teaching within Materials Science & Engineering.

Russell’s teaching, particularly in glasses on which he delivers a specialist Masters level module (MAT4442), is informed by his research interests. He is also in charge of Amrophous materials Industrial Training Programme (MAT3335). He currently contributes to first year undergraduate modules for Materials Science & Engineering students and Aerospace Engineering students on the mechanical properties of materials (MAT1730 and MEC192) and a Masters module on heat and materials (MAT6667/9). Russell also contributes to a first year option on materials and the environment (MAT1920).

Professional activities and recognition
  • Society of Glass Technology
  • President of the Society of Glass Technology
  • Senior Editor of "Glass Technology: The European Journal of Glass Science & Technology A" and "Physics and Chemistry of Glasses: The European Journal of Glass Science & Technology B" and member of Council
  • Member of Council and Steering Committee
  • Member of the Basic Science & Technology Committee (have previously been Secretary and then Chair of this Committee)
  • International Congress on Glass
  • UK representative on ICG Council
  • Chair of Member of Technical Committees 5 – Nuclear and Hazardous Waste Vitrification, 6 – Mechanical and Nanomechanical Properties of Glass and 23 – Glass Education
  • Member of CEng Panel, Institute of Physics
Selected recent publications
  • Dissolution of vitrified wastes in a high-pH calcium-rich solution C.A. Utton, R.J. Hand, P.A. Bingham, N.C. Hyatt, S.W. Swanton and S.J. Williams Journal of Nuclear Materials, 435, 112-122 (2013)
  • Evolution of the modulus and hardness of the tin and air sides of float glass as a function of hydration time J.A. Gonzalez Rodriguez and R.J. Hand Glass Technology: European Journal of Glass Science & Technology A, 54, 36-41 (2013)
  • The effects of γ-radiation on model vitreous wasteforms intended for the disposal of intermediate and high level radioactive wastes in the United Kingdom O.J. McGann, P.A. Bingham, R.J. Hand, M. Kavčič, M. Žitnik, K. Bučar, R. Edge and N.C. Hyatt,Journal of Nuclear Materials, 429, 353-367 (2012)
  • Mechanical properties of nuclear waste glasses A.J. Connelly, R.J. Hand, P.A. Bingham and N.C. Hyatt, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 408, 188-193 (2011).
  • Composition – Structure Relationships in simplified Nuclear Waste Glasses. Part 2: the effect of ZrO2 additions, A.J. Connelly, K.P. Travis, R.J. Hand, E.R. Maddrell and N. C. Hyatt, Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 94, 78–85 (2011).
  • Mechanical properties of silicate glasses as a function of composition R.J. Hand and D.R. Tadjiev, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 356, 2417-2423 (2010).
  • Comparison of glass hydration layer thickness measured by transmission electron microscopy and nanoindentation D.R. Tadjiev, R.J. Hand and P. Zeng, Materials Letters, 64, 1041-1044 (2010).
  • Surface hydration and nanoindentation of silicate glasses D.R. Tadjiev and R.J. Hand, Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 356, 102-108 (2010).
  • Incorporation and speciation of sulphur in glasses for waste immobilization P.A. Bingham, A.J. Connelly, R.J. Hand, N.C. Hyatt and P.A. Northrup, Glass Technology: European Journal of Glass Science and Technology A, 50, 135-138 (2009).
  • Property modification of high-level nuclear waste borosilicate glass through the addition of Fe2O3 N.J. Cassingham, P.A. Bingham, R.J. Hand and S.D. Forder, Glass Technology: European Journal of Glass Science and Technology A, 49, 21-26 (2008).