Materials Unlocked Podcast

Dr Lewis Owen brings together a diverse panel of experts and aspiring materials scientists to discuss and explore the work, achievements and discoveries that happen within the Advanced Materials Processing research area of the Henry Royce Institute based at the University of Sheffield.


1. Unlocking the Materials Design Cycle; an overview of materials science

Lewis is joined by two student co-hosts, Kavi Shama and Matt Turton, to discuss what Materials Science is with this month's expert, Dr Kathy Christofidou.

Lewis Owen and Kathy Christofidou are joined by Kavi Sharma and Matt Turton to record the Materials Unlocked podcast
Lewis Owen and Kathy Christofidou are joined by Kavi Sharma and Matt Turton to record the Materials Unlocked podcast

Kavi is a final year PhD student with the AMSCDT and is researching the cladding behaviour of high enrichment and high burn-up nuclear fuel: determining the impact of radiation damage on storage and corrosion. Kavi admits he is not the biggest cake fan, and instead would rather reach for a KitKat Chunky.
Matt  is a second-year PhD student, he graduated from the University of Sheffield with an MEng in Materials Science and Engineering in 2022. Matt is currently investigating the local structure of high entropy alloy with the aim of linking this to any properties of interest for nuclear fusion first shield wall applications. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing rugby and going climbing, and says a Jam Roly-Poly is his favourite cake.
They're both members of Lewis and Kathy's research group; Modern AlChEME (see link below).

Kathy is a Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy at the University of Sheffield, Technology Platform Lead for the Henry Royce Institute in Materials Discovery and Prototyping, co-leads the Modern AlChEME research group, and is Admissions Tutor. In lieu of a more traditional cake, Kathy's favourite dessert is Profiteroles. 


2. Unlocking how to Define the Problem

Lewis is joined by a new student co-host, Frances Livera, to discuss how to find a solution we first need to properly define the problem with this month's experts, Professor Iain Todd (professor of Metallurgy) and Dr David Bowden (UK Atomic Energy Authority).

Lewis chats with Frances, Iain and David for the Materials Unlocked podcast
Lewis chats with Frances, Iain and David for the Materials Unlocked podcast

Frances is a final year PhD student within the Advanced Metallic Systems CDT. Her research looks into brazing of additively manufactured components and how these joints differ from brazing on more traditionally manufactured materials. She is also an active member of the wider University of Sheffield Engineering community and co-chair the Engineering PGR Student Committee, which aims to improve the experience of PGRs within the Faculty. Outside of work, Frances can be found crocheting, sewing, or exploring the Peak District (with snacks in hand, often a cake made by fellow PhD researcher and upcoming podcast guest Lucy, of which her favourite is coffee and walnut)! 

Iain is an international authority in the field of powder metallurgy and additive manufacture (AM or 3D printing) of metals and alloys. His work focuses on enhancing the manufacturing rate while simultaneously improving component quality and structural integrity. His work is conducted in close collaboration with industry and on an appropriate scale to allow rapid transition of laboratory discoveries into industrial practice. He is highly sought-after by industry for his expertise, and his experimental results and insights have been exploited by the AM and aerospace sectors to solve important engineering challenges in the development of additive manufactured aeroengine and aerostructure components.

David is leading the structural metallics development team at UKAEA, based at the Materials Research Facility, including the £10m NEURONE (NEUtron iRradiation Of advaNced stEels) programme. His team are primarily focussed on developing new high temperature steels for operation within a fusion reactor breeder blanket. David has had what he describes as quite a meandering engineering career so far, moving from aerospace, to maritime and now to nuclear. In his free time, between looking after his baby daughter, David enjoys continuing engineering at home, with a 3D printer, and combining this with hobby electronics he learnt during the many months of lockdown in 2020/21. Without pausing for breath David declared carrot cake his all time favourite.


3. Unlocking Material Prediction

Materials unlocked Episode 3

Lewis is joined by guest student cohost Josh Berry in this episode, and expert panel Dr. Claire Utton and Prof. Hector Basoalto. 

Josh is a PhD student with the AMSCDT investigating material and process design for additive manufacturing of hard metals. 

Claire is a research fellow at the University of Sheffield, her research interests are based around thermodynamic modelling to predict the behaviour of materials under nominal and extreme conditions. She is Primary and co-investigator on wide variety of projects reflecting my expertise in thermodynamic and kinetic modelling (CALPHAD), alloy design and manufacture, and nuclear materials.

Hector is a Professor of Metallurgy in the department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield. He leads the Multiscale Materials Informatics & Innovation (M2i2) computational group. His research focuses on microstructure-property causal relationships of engineering alloys and their application to manufacturing, component performance and alloy design. He works on both theoretical and computational approaches for the simulation and prediction of defects, microstructures and deformation (plasticity) covering a range of spatial/temporal scales. Applications of methods include extracting microstructure/property variations in additive manufacture, advanced welding and forming processes, physics-based modelling of creep and fatigue, dislocation and fracture mechanics.


4. Unlocking Materials Sample Making

Materials Unlocked Podcast Recording E4

In this episode Lewis cohosts with PhD student Wunmi Olukoya and they discuss how and why we produce material samples with Dr. Yunus Azakli and Dr. Will Pulfrey from the Royce team at the University of Sheffield. 

Wunmi is a researcher from the AMSCDT investigating the interaction between silver and lead-free solders in order to develop new solder alloys. Her expertise includes designing and implementing efficient manufacturing processes, managing clients, and improving product quality for aerospace applications. She has a strong background in research and development, and has successfully presented her work at multiple high-level conferences to a wide range of audiences, including key stakeholders and subject matter experts.

Yunus is the Engineering Lead in Materials Discovery & Prototyping, primarily based at the Royce Discovery Centre at the University of Sheffield's city centre campus. He is mainly focussed on advanced metal processing via melting, casting and thermomechanical treatments. 

Will is the Engineering Lead in Thermomechanical Processing and also based at the RDC. He's responsible for the rolling mills and Conform rigs. His videos of hot rolling various alloys are big hits on LinkedIn. 


5. Unlocking Advanced Manufacture

Materials Unlocked E5 guests

In this episode Lewis welcomes student co-hosts; Ben Jolly and Jacob Whittle to talk all things Advanced Manufacturing with expert Dr Felicity Freeman.

Ben and Jacob are both in the third year of their PhD research with the AMSCDT.
Ben is currently researching the local structural behaviours of multi-component alloys via Neutron Total Scattering experiments. Encompassing a number of specialised materials of potential significance to nuclear and aerospace industries. He initially graduated with degree in Physics, studying Materials Science & Engineering seemed a natural progression to his scientific career. When not being driven to insanity by crystal lattices and Python code, he enjoys the seemingly-traditional Sheffield pastime of climbing, and watching the football with endless frustration. His favourite cake is his mum's Chocolate cake.
Jacob's PhD is in collaboration with British Steel, and he is a member of the Rail Innovation and Technology Centre. His research focuses on the sustainability of steel railway infrastructure and how it can be used to support low carbon transport systems worldwide. He is a Doctoral Supervisor of Railway Challenge at Sheffield, Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Faculty of Engineering and Open Day Ambassador in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and is partial to a Carrot Cake. 

Felicity is a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering with a background as a research associate working in additive manufacturing. Her PhD was in the development of magnetically-graded steels and using the Laser Powder-Bed Fusion additive manufacturing process (3D printing). Prior to this she spent 10 years working at Rolls-Royce as a Manufacturing Engineer. When asked to choose, she'd reach for the classic Lemon Drizzle cake. 


6. Unlocking Characterisation

Materials Unlocked Podcast recording E 7

In this episode we shake things up a bit as we enter into Dr Lewis Owen's specialist field. So we welcome back Dr Kathy Christofidou, this time in the role of host as Dr Lewis Owen sits in the 'expert' seat, and they're joined by doctoral researcher Frances Synnott.

Frances is a PhD researcher at the University of Sheffield with the Advanced Metallic Systems Centre for Doctoral Training. Her research is sponsored by Rolls-Royce and involves developing superalloys to improve future jet-engine applications. 

Kathy is a Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy at the University of Sheffield, Technology Platform Lead for the Henry Royce Institute in Materials Discovery and Prototyping, co-leads the Modern AlChEME research group, and is Admissions Tutor. In lieu of a more traditional cake, Kathy's favourite dessert is Profiteroles. 


7. Unlocking Sample Testing

Materials Unlocked Episode 7

Lewis, alongside student co-host Lucy Farquhar, discuss sample testing with expert Prof. Russell Goodall.

Lucy researches the development of refractory high entropy alloys for additive manufacturing. She's a runner and plays netball a lot, aswel as being an avid baker. Asking her to choose a favourite cake is like asking a parent to pick their favourite child!

Russell spends his time at work studying metals and thinks that the periodic table is the best map ever created. Outside of work he likes the more normal kinds of maps and trying to persuade his children to go on walks. He likes exploring unknown alloys - combinations of different elements in the periodic table - with the aim of finding unusual (and hopefully useful) behaviours. His favourite true cake is a Victoria Sponge, but if there is millionaire's shortbread, he'd choose that.


8. Unlocking the Big Picture; Recycling, sustainability and storage.

Materials Unlocked Episode 8

PhD researcher Durga Tilak is Lewis's co-host in this final episode of the series. They talk all things recycling, sustainability and long term storage in the world of materials science with expert Dr. Richard Thackray.

Durga is in the second year of her PhD in eddy current reduction in automotive permanent magnets in collaboration with Volkswagen. She also sits on the Engineering PGR Students' Committee at the University. A former Rhodes national finalist from India, Durga is a recreational runner who enjoys podcasts and reading in her free time, often with a slice of Chocolate cake.

Richard is a lecturer in steelmaking at the University of Sheffield. He has a strong focus on identifying strategies to produce more energy-efficient steelmaking processes and works with partners such as Siemens and Tata Steel to help them develop more sustainable manufacturing. Richard is our second guest to declare Profiteroles as their cake of choice.


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