Current research funding in the Division of Materials Engineering

Division of Materials Engineering

Research Projects

The following are current funded research projects taking place within the research division:

Cells growing at the surface of oil droplets
Engineered Protein Nanosheets at Liquid-Liquid Interfaces for Stem Cell Expansion, Sorting and Tissue Engineering

Principal Investigator: Julien GAUTROT
Funding source: EU Commission - Horizon 2020
Start: 01-09-2018  /  End: 31-08-2023
Amount: £2,011,161

ProLiCell will design the biochemical and mechanical properties of extracellular matrix (ECM) protein nanosheets that can sustain the formation of adhesion protein complexes and support cell proliferation and culture on materials with very weak bulk mechanical properties (liquids).

Bottom up structuring of liquids without external fields or molds.
Manufacturing of anisotropic nano and micro- particles.
Molecular Manufacturing of Macroscopic Objects - fellowship Stoyan Smoukov

Principal Investigator: Stoyan SMOUKOV
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-09-2018  /  End: 31-08-2023
Amount: £1,180,624

This interdisciplinary proposal proposes a molecular basis for Manufacturing for the Future,[a1] to grow many types of particles in a nature-inspired way. It offers scalability, near-full utilization of the material, and the ability to carry out transformations at near ambient conditions. Manufacturing in nature spans the scales from intricate ...

Graphene layer (Getty Image)
Graphene Flagship Core Project 3

Principal Investigator: James BUSFIELD
Co-investigator(s): Nick DUGGAN, Yang HAO, Emiliano BILOTTI, Dimitrios PAPAGEORGIOU, Wei TAN, Colin CRICK, Han ZHANG, Himadri GUPTA and Nicola PUGNO
Funding source: EU Commission - Horizon 2020
Start: 01-04-2020  /  End: 31-03-2023
Amount: £376,501

This grant will cofund the establishing of a mini-CDT with 5 PhD studentships in Graphene materials at QMUL.

BFTT campaign
Creative Clusters Fashion in Smart Textile

Principal Investigator: James BUSFIELD
Co-investigator(s): Emiliano BILOTTI and Haixue YAN
Funding source: AHRC Arts and Humanities Research Council
Start: 01-10-2018  /  End: 31-03-2023
Amount: £345,900

The Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology (BFTT) is a five-year industry-led project, which focusses on delivering sustainable innovation within the entire fashion and textile supply chain. The aim is to foster a new, creative business culture in which fashion, textiles and technology businesses can use R&D as a mechanism for growth.


Principal Investigator: Lorenzo BOTTO
Funding source: Commission of the European Community
Start: 01-04-2017  /  End: 31-03-2022
Amount: £1,017,645

2D nanomaterials hold immense technological promise thanks to extraordinary intrinsic properties such as ultra-high conductivity, strength and unusual semiconducting properties. Our understanding of how these extremely thin and flexible objects are processed in flow is however inadequate, and this is hindering progress towards true market applications. When processed in liquid ...

Bench-top single optical fibre microendoscope- IAA Large grant

Principal Investigator: Lei SU
Funding source: EPSRC IAA
Start: 10-03-2020  /  End: 31-03-2022
Amount: £40,000

This project aims to develop a benchtop single optical fibre imaging probe.

Lead-free ferroelectrics for piezoelectric sensors or high power energy storage: Professor Jiagang Wu

Principal Investigator: Haixue YAN
Funding source: Royal Society
Start: 31-03-2020  /  End: 30-03-2022
Amount: £74,000

Open characterisation and modelling environment to drive innovation in advanced nano-architectured and bio-inspired hard/soft interfaces (OYSTER)

Principal Investigator: Gleb SUKHORUKOV
Funding source: EU
Start: 01-01-2199  /  End: 01-12-2021
Amount: £135,000

Major focus of the project is in surface design, controlled adhesion and development of surface characterisation techniques and their standardization. In particular, Nanoforce contribution in the project and relevant tasks are crossing other activity at SEMS what includes biofunctionalisation of surfaces to make hydrophobic surface hydrophilic and to produce thin polymeric films with micro-packaged bioactive agents. Also SEMS expertise in polymer processing will be expanded on polymer with drug coating. Further goal would be to make such a coating on various implants and stents. Developments of implants with designed mechanical properties could benefit with extra function added on it such as “micro-packaged” drug what could be used either to proliferate cell grow in case of grow factor encapsulation or, if needed, coatings antibacterial properties.

Advanced Polymer Dielectrics

Principal Investigator: Emiliano BILOTTI
Funding source: Innovate UK
Start: 01-12-2018  /  End: 30-11-2021
Amount: £290,276

Structural self-powered health monitoring based on thermoelectricity of CNT veils and yarns

Principal Investigator: Emiliano BILOTTI
Co-investigator(s): Han ZHANG
Funding source: Royal Society
Start: 18-08-2021  /  End: 18-08-2021
Amount: £12,000

Rb-based energy materials

Principal Investigator: Haixue YAN
Funding source: CSA - China Central South University
Start: 11-07-2019  /  End: 10-07-2021
Amount: £11,500

The instrument will combine two electrochemical imaging techniques which measure cell responses apically and basally.
Combined LAPS and SICM for multimodal live cell imaging

Principal Investigator: Steffi KRAUSE
Co-investigator(s): Wen WANG
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-06-2018  /  End: 31-05-2021
Amount: £571,839

A novel instrument will be developed that will revolutionise the ability to monitor cellular processes and cell communication in polarised cells by simultaneously imaging cells apically and basally. This will provide information about apical cell morphology and basal ion concentrations and electrical signals such as cell surface charge and impedance.

Development of mechanically enhanced osteoinductive synthetic bone graft substitutes
Development of mechanically enhanced osteoinductive synthetic bone graft substitutes

Principal Investigator: Karin HING
Funding source: Apatech Ltd
Start: 01-10-2017  /  End: 31-03-2021
Amount: £87,500

The aim of this project is to develop and test a series of bone graft substitutes with novel pore structures using a perfusion based bioreactor system with flow to waste and closed loop capabilities, that is also able to subject real bone graft substitute granules to direct mechanical perturbation. This system has been validated using human mesenchymal stem cells seeded on BGS with varied strut porosity and will be further optimised to enable screening of new structures.

Conductive ink printed on paper.
All-printed thermoelectric generators

Principal Investigator: Oliver FENWICK
Funding source: Royal Society
Start: 01-10-2017  /  End: 31-03-2021
Amount: £110,748

Organic thermoelectric materials are in the early stages of development, and the excitement surrounding them lies in their low cost, solution processability (they can be printed) and their mechanical flexibility. In short, they could revolutionise thermoelectric power generation. In this project, an OTEG will be fabricated on paper by a novel printing process. It is a cheap, scalable process that is much-needed for OTEGs to become reality. Furthermore, this project follows the conviction that a fundamental understanding of OTEG device physics will accelerate the development of improved thermoelectric materials

HYPERTHERM - Hybrid organic-inorganic Perovskite Thermoelectrics
HYPERTHERM - Hybrid organic-inorganic Perovskite Thermoelectrics

Principal Investigator: Oliver FENWICK
Funding source: EU Commission - Horizon 2020
Start: 11-03-2019  /  End: 10-03-2021
Amount: £146,764

HYPERTHERM will investigate new thermoelectric materials, specifically hybrid organic-inorganic perovskites, which are solution processable (printable), abundant and low cost. These materials are well-known in their undoped form in solar cells, and there are good indications that their superb electrical and thermal properties are well-suited to thermoelectric applications. However, to become good thermoelectric materials, they must be electrically doped to increase their conductivity. The principle scientific aim of this proposal is therefore to learn how to control doping in these exciting materials to boost their thermoelectric performance.

Understanding the excited states in carbon dots and hybrids for solar fuels production

Principal Investigator:
Funding source: Royal Society
Start: 01-03-2018  /  End: 28-02-2021
Amount: £111,000

Cells proliferating on nanosheets self-assembled at liquid-liquid interfaces
2D composites with controlled nano-mechanisms

Principal Investigator: Julien GAUTROT
Funding source: Leverhulme Trust
Start: 01-03-2018  /  End: 28-02-2021
Amount: £231,825

A long standing dogma in cell-based technologies is that bulk mechanical properties of solid substrates are essential to enable cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. However, the use of solid materials for cell culture constitutes an important hurdle for the scale up and automation of processes. We recently discovered that protein assembly at liquid-liquid interfaces results in mechanically strong protein layers sustaining cell spreading and directing fate decision. For long term culture, such interfaces lacked toughness and ruptured. This project will develop tough 2D nanocomposites assembled at oil-water interfaces and sustaining long term stem cell culture for applications in regenerative medicine.

ISCF Wave 1:Designing Electrodes for Na Ion Batteries via Structure Electrochemical Performance Correlations

Principal Investigator:
Funding source: EPSRC Engineering and Physcial Sciences Research Council
Start: 01-01-2018  /  End: 31-12-2020
Amount: £1,049,962

ATHLETE Energy Entrepreneurs Fund
ATHLETE Energy Entrepreneurs Fund

Principal Investigator: Mike REECE
Funding source: BEIS Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Start: 14-05-2018  /  End: 31-12-2020
Amount: £128,015

ATHLETE will develop and demonstrate innovative thermoelectric technologies for waste heat recovery that achieves increased energy efficiency through power generation.

Facility for Materials Engineering
Facility for Materials Engineering

Principal Investigator: Mike REECE
Funding source: E.P.S.R.C.
Start: 01-04-2015  /  End: 31-12-2020
Amount: £313,840

MagMat is a unique capability in the UK for the synthesis and processing of materials in strong magnetic fields (SMF) known at MagMat.

3D Printed Osteogenic & Hierarchal Bio Mineralizing Scaffold
3D Printed Osteogenic & Hierarchal Bio Mineralizing Scaffold

Principal Investigator: Alvaro MATA
Funding source: AO Foundation
Start: 01-06-2017  /  End: 30-11-2020
Amount: £114,082

The project will look to develop 3D printed polymeric scaffolds capable of acellular mineralization for enhancing integration of implants in maxillofacial applications.

Conductive organic nano-fibres.
University Research Fellowship

Principal Investigator: Oliver FENWICK
Funding source: The Royal Society
Start: 10-05-2015  /  End: 18-10-2020
Amount: £491,780

Organic Thermoelectrics in Multiple Structural and Transport Regimes.

Replacing Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) with next-generation graphene in electronic devices

Principal Investigator: Colin HUMPHREYS
Co-investigator(s): Oliver FENWICK and William Gillin
Funding source: Innovate UK
Start: 01-01-2019  /  End: 30-09-2020
Amount: £153,002

Indium is expensive and is on the EU Critical Materials List. This project is to explore replacing Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) with next-generation graphene provided by the industrial partner Paragraf.

Raster scanning the focusing at the tip of an imaging optical fibre

Principal Investigator: Lei SU
Co-investigator(s): Martin KNIGHT and Luming ZHAO
Funding source: EU Commission - Horizon 2020
Start: 01-10-2018  /  End: 30-09-2020
Amount: £156,364

In this project, the Marie Curie Fellow will develop an optical fibre based image-guided surgery system based on the state-of-the-art optical-fibre laser technologies.

Relative impact of physical ageing resulting from temperature cycling to chemical ageing from environmental effects
Physical Ageing of Rubber

Principal Investigator: James BUSFIELD
Funding source: Bridgestone Corporation
Start: 01-10-2019  /  End: 30-09-2020
Amount: £5,767

Carbon black filled elastomers composites are widely used in engineering applications. Their performance changes with time both from changes in their operating temperature and as a consequence of various different ageing mechanisms. This project focuses on modelling the effects of physical ageing on the mechanical properties.

Micropatterned silicones
Novel Cross-linking Strategy

Principal Investigator: Julien GAUTROT
Funding source: FormFormForm Ltd
Start: 01-10-2017  /  End: 30-09-2020
Amount: £105,971

This project focuses on the design of novel crosslinking strategies for silicone materials. These will enable the design of a new generation of silicone based composites with controlle mechanical properties and displaying conductive behaviour. The project will explore the use of these materials for 3D printing.


Principal Investigator:
Funding source: Commission of the European Community
Start: 01-10-2016  /  End: 30-09-2020
Amount: £386,118

Rb-based ferroelectric ceramics having high Curie point
Rb based ferroelectrics

Principal Investigator: Haixue YAN
Funding source: CSA - China Central South University
Start: 16-07-2018  /  End: 15-07-2020
Amount: £17,000

Ferroelectrics are materials characterized by a Curie point and polarization switching. The Curie point sets the upper limit on the application of ferroelectric ceramics for piezoelectric applications. The aim of this project is develop Rb-based ferroelectric ceramics for high temperature piezoelectric applications.