Dr Wei Tan wins £1.2m grant to develop 'self-healing' materials

5 September 2023

ERC Starting Grant
ERC Starting Grant

Dr Wei Tan has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for ambitious research which focuses on self-healing engineering materials.

Dr Tan, a Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the School of Engineering and Materials Science, has been awarded with £1.2m towards his project, titled: Life-like Resilient Materials for Mitigating Liquid-Solid Impact Damage (LSIMPACT). The project aims to address the longstanding puzzle of liquid-solid impact, which involves the collision of a high-velocity liquid and a solid, leading to substantial material degradation.

Dr Tan's research will aim to solve problems such as the erosion of expensive and remotely-located wind turbine blades, with a view to extending their lifespan.

Describing the project, Dr Tan said: “LSIMPACT embarks on a journey to understanding the failure mechanisms of solid materials under liquid impact, while also creating new materials with ‘life-like’ features. I will lead a team to develop materials that can heal themselves, adapt, and endure — greatly enhancing the lifetime of engineering structures."

ERC Starting Grants are awarded to early-career researchers who are 2-7 years post PhD. The grants are designed to support those carrying out cutting-edge research that could make a significant impact.

ERC President Professor Maria Leptin said: “It is part of our mission to give early-career talent the independence to pursue ambitious, curiosity-driven research that can shape our future. Congratulations to all winners and good luck on your path to discovery.”

The grants are highly competitive, with only 14.8% of proposals being granted this year. The award is a testament to the outstanding research being carried out by Dr Tan, and provides a major boost to Queen Mary's research reputation.

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Updated by: Wei Tan