Dr Zhao Yuan Leong

Ph.D MEng (Hons.) AMInst IMMM

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Research Associate


Full contact details

Dr Zhao Yuan Leong
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

Zhao is currently a research associate in the Functional Magnetic Materials group, under project PI Professor Nicola Morley.

He pursued his PhD in alloy design under the supervision of Professor Russell Goodall (available on White Rose) and was awarded the degree in 2018, receiving the Brunton medal for his thesis. His M.Eng in Materials Science & Engineering was also completed at the University of Sheffield with his master’s thesis awarded the Lucy Oldfield award (3rd place).

He enjoys the application of technology and engineering knowledge in a broader context outside his field(s), and has taken part in several such ventures, notably winning the first place for the 'Silicon Valley Comes to the UK' appathon 2013, and recently the 'Best Strategist' award for Hacktrain 2017.

Naturally curious, he is quite partial to coffee, but fundamentally enjoys tea far more.

Research interests

Magnetostrictive sensors for composite structural health monitoring

Composites, although possessing good properties are subject to complicated modes of failure; often these damages are barely visible as they may be located between composite layers. Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of aircraft composite is required to determine the barely visible impact damage (BVID) that occurs during flight; if caught early before the damage becomes irreparable, it can be repaired in-situ, so saving money and time.

BVID causes a strain within the composite, which can be measured using magnetostrictive ribbons. This work focuses on the development of a magnetostrictive sensor capable of detecting barely-visible-damage (BVD), essential to the usage of composites in high-performance environments such as in the aerospace industry.

Funded by the European JTI-CleanSky2 program under the Grant Agreement n◦ 314768 (SHERLOC).

Read the abstract

Alloy design of multiple component alloys

Traditionally, alloy design has revolved around one major component with small alloying additions; new research into alloy-design has shown that a pirate’s ‘treasure trove’ of interesting properties may be found in hitherto unexplored near-equimolar multi-component alloys (typically four or more), towards the centre of phase diagrams. The different stabilised structures and microstructures resulting from alloying interactions can result in many interesting properties. Of further interest is that they may adopt the simple phases of pure elements (face-centred cubic (FCC), body centred cubic (BCC), or hexagonal close packed (HCP)) rather than the expected ordered intermetallic compounds.

Some industrially relevant examples of the use of these alloys are as possible catalysts, as radiation-resistant materials, magnetic thin films, structural materials, and hardfacing materials. With guidance from computer predictions, the alloy designer will be able to adopt strategies to discover new compositions, that may then be tested for their efficacy in different applications.

Other projects

  • Catalytic potential of multicomponent alloy systems, Collaborative project under the Desai Research Internship Scheme, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K., 2017
  • Socially Enterprising Researcher (SER) Grant: Expedited enzyme hydrolysis of soy sauce, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K., 2016

Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

Professional activities

Editor-in-Chief, Committee member, University of Sheffield Engineering Symposium (USES) conference proceedings, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K., 2014-2015