Mark Rainforth is Director of the ₤34m Sheffield hub of the Henry Royce Institute, which spans fundamental research to industrial scale manufacturing of novel metal alloys and processes, and is the former Head of the Materials Department. Winner of the IOM3 Rosenhain Medal and past President, Royal Microscopical Society, he is recognised for his work on the processing and characterisation of metal alloys, with emphasis on advanced high strength steels (AHSS), where his work has had direct industrial impact, e.g. the introduction of new AHSS by Tata Steel. He is co-author, with Bill Lee, of Ceramic Microstructures: Property control by processing (1994).
Tony Paxton's principal interest is in the atomic- and meso-scale aspects of theoretical metallurgy; and he has had success in applying both density functional theory (DFT) and his magnetic TB theory to problems in alloy design and the physics of metals. He is a developer of the Stuttgart DFT-LMTO code ( With Sasha Lozovoi and Mike Finnis he formulated a general theory of segregation embrittlement in metals which addressed the controversy surrounding bismuth embrittlement in copper and the beneficial properties of boron. In 1998 he published the first paper on the polarisable ion tight binding (PITB) theory which he invented with Mike Finnis. This was first applied to the problem of phase stability in zirconia and its stabilisation by aliovalent impurities. Later, with Jorge Kohanoff he applied the PITB to water. He led the efforts to develop the PITB into a "universal" computational tool for molecular dynamics of small organic molecules, water and titanium dioxide surfaces as a part of the EPSRC Catalytic Advances through Sustainable Technologies (CASTecH) grant at Queen's University Belfast.
Mark and Tony took the top two first class BMet degrees from the Department of Metallurgy in Sheffield in 1984. We also scooped the Harry Brearley Scholarship, the Mappin Medal, two International Nickel Prizes; and first prize at Stannington College in City and Guilds Welding Craft Practice Part II. We were taught by inspirational instructors: Jack Woodhead, Geoff Greenwood, Mike Sellars, Tony Entwisle, Bruce Bilby, Roy Buckle and others. Mark and Tony were investigators in the successful DARE and HEmS EPSRC funded programmes.
Sebastián Echeverri Restrepo is Senior Researcher in the Department of Steel and Steel Processing at SKF Research and Technology Development (Houten, The Netherlands), and Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Physics at King's College London. He does fundamental and applied research on the physical behaviour of steels, polymers and lubricants with the goal of developing new materials, improve their performance, and increase the life of each of the components of roller bearings. He is also interested in Machine Learning and its applications to the estimation of the remaining useful life of bearing components.
Nicholas Winzer is a Senior Expert in cold-rolled steel development at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, Germany. He gained a PhD in materials engineering from The University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008. He has around 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books, mostly focusing on environmentally-assisted degradation of metals.
Ivaylo Katzarov is Associate Professor in the Mathematical Modelling Department of the Institute of Metal Science, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and post-doctoral fellow at King's College London. He took his MSc in Physics at the University of Sofia in 1981 and after working in fundamental particle physics, moved into engineering. He has worked under secondment from BAS with Tony Paxton on a number of EPSRC grants since 2006, in particular HEmS, and in the European Commission FP7 Grant "MultiHy", led by Nick Winzer who is now at thyssenkrupp Steel Europe. His interests span path-integral simulation of quantum systems and bond order potentials across the length and time scales to various mesoscopic modelling techniques including finite elements, phase fields, thermodynamic and kinetic Monte Carlo, and discrete dislocation dynamics. He explained how an interface-induced dislocation core transformation ductilises lamellar γ-TiAl; and confirmed the role of a twin boundary in rendering a 60° dislocation glissile, thus confirming the mechanism of channelled flow in γ-TiAl first identified by Vasek Vitek. He developed an atomistically informed decohesion theory to predict the effect of hydrogen on the elastic energy release rate in fracture of iron. He is the inventor of the self consistent kMC method.
Peng Gong has been appointed to a Lecturership in the University of Newcastle. She was Research Associate (RA) in the materials science and engineering department, University of Sheffield. She has previously been involved in two projects as RA: DARE and HEmS. In the DARE project, she successfully designed a new type of maraging TRIP steel which is cheaper, simpler to manufacture, and possesses superior mechanical properties compared with existing maraging steels. Under the HEmS programme she has made transformative advancements in our understanding of the role of hydrogen in the embrittlement of industrial steels. She was the first to observe the trailing debris predicted by Ivo Katzarov as a result of the interaction between hydrogen and gliding screw dislocations. In addition she has collaborated with Ivo in the investigation of the role of hydrogen in setting the length scale of dislocation cell formation under tensile deformation in iron (see Scripta Mat., 194, 113683 (2021)).
John Nutter is a Research Associate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at University of Sheffield. Since completing his PhD in 2018, he has held an RA position in the Henry Royce Institute serving as primary contact for transmission electron microscopy and developing research competencies in advanced characterisation techniques, including automated crystal orientation mapping using precession electron diffraction (PED). His primary research focus has been in the use of electron microscopy, in particular hot stage TEM, to investigate phase transformations.
Tigany Zarrouk is a Physics Postdoctoral Researcher in Computational Materials Science and Machine Learning at Aalto University, Finland. He took his PhD in the Paxton Group of King's College London. He studied physics at Imperial College London, obtaining his MSci under the supervision of Kim Christensen, where he developed a cellular automaton to model the emergent behaviour of atrial fibrillation in scarred heart tissue. His main interest is in the theory and simulation of materials. Working with Dimitri Vvedensky, he modelled self-assembled nanostructures during the epitaxial growth of GaAs. His PhD work focuses on the quantum simulation of defects in transitions metals, specifically dislocation-solute interactions in iron and titanium, to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of solid solution strengthening and dislocation-assisted solute migration. During this time, he has also done work in optimisation, to fit quantum mechanical tight-binding models for interatomic forces. He is sponsored by Rolls-Royce, through an EPSRC CASE studentship, and has worked with Sebastián Echeverri Restrepo as a research consultant for SKF in the Netherlands.
Omar Al-lahham ran an independent business for ten years before deciding to return to education, graduating from The Open University in 2017 with a BSc First Class Honours in Mathematics and Physics. The following year he completed a Graduate Diploma in Physics at King's College London, passing with distinction. In 2020 he also completed an MSc in Physics at King's, in association with SKF, in which his research project was based on kinetic Monte Carlo simulations of dislocations.
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