Professor Patrick Fairclough

profile picture Patrick FaircloughMechanical Engineering

North Campus, Broad Lane


S3 7HQ

Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 7798

 Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 7890



Professor Fairclough completed a BSc in Physics at the University of Birmingham in 1990. He then started a PhD in Neutron Scattering at Birmingham. He graduated from Birmingham with his PhD in 1995. A postdoc in polymer science took him to UMIST in Manchester in 1994 (after briefly working as a service engineer). The postdoc lasted until 1997 when he was recruited to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield. In 2013 he took up the chair in Composite Engineering in the department of Mechanical Engineering.

Research Interests

Patrick's research covers a wide variety of polymers, soft materials and composite systems. He is director of the Composites Systems Innovation Centre at Sheffield (CSIC). CSIC has a focus on low energy materials; this includes natural materials and reducing the energy costs of processing conventional materials. Part of this work is developing an understanding of the ageing of composite systems by various types of weathering and exposure to harsh environments. The work involves both experimental and computer modelling in collaboration with Dr Foreman. We are keen to build bridges between Engineering and the Physical Sciences to help develop new systems and are always looking for keen and motivated PhD students from both Engineering and Physical Sciences backgrounds. Collaboration with Chris Holland in Materials Science and Engineering and Lenny Koh in the Management School is studying minimally processed natural fibres within biodegradable matrices both in terms of mechanical performance and life cycle analysis (LCA).

The polymer projects cover the understanding of stability as applied to polymer crystallisation, colloidal structures and phase separation in mixed polymer systems. Patrick is currently working on structural colour with collaborations both in industry and academia. Together with Dr Parnell in Physics they were awarded the IChemE Innovative Product of the Year award in 2011 for their work on structural colour.

Current Projects

Antonino Bianco: Structural Colour; Sponsored
Ryan Seabright: Phase Separation in Polymer Systems; Sponsored
Mark Latham: Polymer Welding; CASE sponsored
Stella Manoli: Natural Materials Composites: CSIC
Rhys Williams: Nanomaterial composites: CSIC
Ying Lang Ang: Stress Transfer in Carbon Fibre-Epoxy composites: CSIC
Sam Swinbourne: Polyurethane Networks: Sponsored by Circor
Stephen Knox: Chemistry of Novel Epoxy Networks: CSIC & Polymer CDT
Alec Shackleford: Free Volume in Novel Epoxy Networks: CSIC & Polymer CDT
Najihah Mohd Tamyis: Nanotube Carbon Composites: CSIC
Yas Khalil: Additive Manufacturing of Polymers: ADAM Centre
Tom Sydney: Shine Grantham PhD Project on Algae for Biofuels; Algal Biotechnology Sheffield Network

More details of the current PhD projects on offer are available on the Department's PhD site.

EPSRC Grants

Soft Nanotechnology November 2007 to October 2012; £796,000 with Prof. Richard A. L. Jones (Pl), Prof. Anthony J. Ryan, Prof. Mark Geoghegan, Prof. David Lidzey

EPSRC KTA KickStart Funding Biologics October 2011 to June 2012, £1116,000 with Prof. Richard Ross, Prof. Nigel Clark, and Prof. Peter Artumuik

The Effects of Poilydispersity on Self Assembly in Block Copolymers: February 2007 to October 2010 £254,000 with Prof. Sebastien Perrier (Sydney), Prof Mark Matsen (Reading)

The Microscale Polymer Procesing Consortium for Macromolecular Engineering (MuPP ii): Toolbox Development and Application March 2005 - March 2009 £815,000 Prof. Anthony J. Ryan, Dr Ellen Heeley collaboration as part of the larger MuPP ii grant with Prof. Tom C. B. McLeish (Pl), Dr R. Alan Duckett, Dr Oliver G. Harlen, Prof. Peter Hine, Prof. Pete Jimack, Prof. Alexei Likhtman, Dr Helen J Wilson, Prof. Phil D. Coates, Prof. Malcolm Mackley, Dr Lian R. Hutchings, Dr Nigel Clarke, Prof. C Paul Buckley

Accelerated Discovery for New Organic Semiconductors November 2004 to October 2007, £234,000 Prof. Mick Turner and Dr Martin Grell


MEC132: Matter Flow and Energy (Thermofluids)

MEC406:: Engineering Composite Materials (Solids)

Journal articles


  • Parnell AJ & Fairclough JPA (2015) Self-assembling polymer photonics, Organic and Hybrid Photonic Crystals (pp. 127-143).
  • Fairclough JP, Ryan AJ, Mai S-M & Hamley IW (2000) Structures of amphiphilic block copolymers in their liquid and solid states, in Amphiphilic block copolymers In Lindman B & Alexandridis P (Ed.), Amphiphilic block copolymers (pp. 151-167). Elsevier Science

Conference proceedings papers

  • Mykhaylyk OO, Chambon P, Graham RS, Fairclough JPA, Olmsted PD & Ryan AJ (2008) The specific work of flow as a universal parameter to control the formation of shish-kebab morphology in polymers. XVTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON RHEOLOGY - THE SOCIETY OF RHEOLOGY 80TH ANNUAL MEETING, PTS 1 AND 2, Vol. 1027 (pp 496-498)
  • Norman AI, Fairclough JPA, Mai S & Ryan AJ (2004) Poly(oxyalkylene) block copolymers in aqueous solution - Phase behavior and transition kinetics. JOURNAL OF MACROMOLECULAR SCIENCE-PHYSICS, Vol. B43(1) (pp 71-93)
  • Xu JT, Fairclough JPA, Mai SM & Ryan AJ (2003) The effect of architecture on the morphology and crystallization of oxyethylene/oxybutylene block copolymers from micelles in n-hexane. JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY, Vol. 13(11) (pp 2740-2748)
  • Pokric B, Allinson NM, Ryan AJ, Fairclough P, Dobson BR, Derbyshire GE, Helsby W, Long G & Moon K (2002) A double area detector system for simultaneous small and wide-angle X-ray scattering. NUCLEAR INSTRUMENTS & METHODS IN PHYSICS RESEARCH SECTION A-ACCELERATORS SPECTROMETERS DETECTORS AND ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT, Vol. 477(1-3) (pp 329-334)
  • Corvazier L, Messe L, Salou CLO, Young RN, Fairclough JPA & Ryan AJ (2001) Lamellar phases and microemulsions in model ternary blends containing amphiphilic block copolymers. JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY, Vol. 11(11) (pp 2864-2874)
  • Ryan AJ, Terrill NJ & Fairclough JPA (2000) A scattering study of nucleation phenomena in homopolymer melts. SCATTERING FROM POLYMERS, Vol. 739 (pp 201-217)
  • Fairclough JPA, Ross DK & Bennington SM (1993) Diffuse Neutron Scattering from Yttrium Hydride*. Zeitschrift für Physikalische Chemie, Vol. 179(Part_1_2) (pp 281-287)


  • Fairclough JP () Copolymer Blends, Light Reflective Films Comprising the Same and Methods for their preparation and use. GB1013274.4 Appl. 01 Jan 1970.
  • Fairclough JP () SELF-ASSEMBLING BLOCK COPOLYMER FILM. GB 0506362.3 Appl. 01 Jan 1970.
  • Fairclough JP () Film composites. 2000-GB1156; 2000058760 Appl. 01 Jan 1970.
  • Fairclough JP () Kit of block copolymers exhibiting temperature-dependent adhesion and release properties. GB3870, 2002020688 Appl. 01 Jan 1970.