Research Centre in Surface Engineering

The Research Centre in Surface Engineering at the University of Sheffield specialises in all matters relating to the production, evaluation and characterisation of coatings and surface treatments for engineering applications. We work closely with partner laboratories within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering which specialise in topic areas such as tissue engineering and magnetic thin films.

The group´s main research emphasis is in the fields of plasma-based coating deposition and surface treatment process technologies. These include the development of new sputter-deposited metallic nanocomposite coatings with controlled mechanical properties, and plasma electrolytic processes for the surface hardening (and other functional treatments) of, primarily, lightweight alloys based on aluminium, magnesium and titanium. That work is funded by both the EPSRC and industrial sponsors. Also the group holds substantial EPSRC grants, for example to model and grow templated metal-oxide films at low temperature. Additional underpinning support for the centre has recently been secured through an EPSRC Platform Grant award. The team has participated in several EU 6th Framework proposals, and secured a Co-ordination Action grant (DESHNAF) which aims to pursue the development of superhard nanocomposite coatings by plasma based processing routes, in collaboration with laboratories across Europe. The group has also received support from the Royal Society and the British Council to help establish links with research groups in former Soviet Union (Russia and Ukraine) and Taiwan. Other initiatives are extending the centre´s links with academic and industrial laboratories in the USA. This in turn maintains our leading-edge position in key technologies, and helps us to work with and assist locally-based companies, for example through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.