Research labs

The Materials and Structures Research group boasts state-of-the-art equipment which is situated in four lab areas and two workshops.

New investment has led to a new Characterisation Research Laboratory.

Characterisation Research Laboratory, Prof Andreas Chrysanthou

To work with the Materials and Structures Research Lab contact a.chrysanthou@herts.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 1707 284288.

Our facility houses:

  • a new X-Ray Diffractometer (Bruker D8 Advance) for phase identification and strain analysis
  • transmission electron microscope (JEOL JEM-1400 Plus)
  • scanning electron microscopy
  • two Differential Scanning Calorimeters
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • two tensiometers for wettability (contact angle) measurements.

This equipment is used by our researchers working primarily on anti-bacterial and anti-microbial nanoparticles as well as analysing metal-ceramic and metal-polymer interfacial relationships. Strain analysis is used for our research on the use of external fields to reduce residual stresses.

Materials and Structures & Composites Research Laboratories​, Prof Andreas Chrysanthou

To work with the Materials and Structures and the Composites Research Labs contact a.chrysanthou@herts.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 1707 284288.

The Materials and Structures lab facilities offers the capability to perform tensile/compression testing including a chamber for tests up to 250°C, hardness, Charpy impact, drop-weight impact, fatigue, salt-spray corrosion, cavitation erosion, etc.

The Composites Lab has facilities for preparing composite panels using prepregs and wet-lay up as well as vacuum bagging and cutting facilities. An autoclave is situated in the High-temperature furnaces lab along with a selection of tube and muffle furnaces with capability up to 1850°C. In addition, a metallographic preparation lab boasts new equipment for preparation of samples for microscopy.

The awarded grant total, combined in Materials and Structures and Composites laboratories is £2.083M. The main areas of income have been on anti-microbial nanoparticles (EPSRC), metal-ceramic and metal-plastics joining (IUK and industry) and natural fibre composites (industry).

Materials and Structures workshops

They cover an area of about 300m2 and boast of a new water-jet cutting machine, CNC machining, new joining equipment including self-piercing riveting and welding, laser cutting and 3D printing machines.

In MAST there is also available a facility on Virtual Manufacturing.

Virtual Manufacturing (VM) Laboratory, Dr Funlade Sunmola

To work with the Virtual Manufacturing Research Laboratory contact f.sunmola@herts.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 1707 284288.

The VM lab provides an intuitive, easy to use, immersive virtual reality suite that enables complex engineering data, product and processes to be projected at a scale that gives an additional sense of realism to engineering tasks/projects. The VM Lab offers important, research, and business benefits including the ability to

  • provide information about manufacturing processes to engineers and designers for intelligent optimisation of products for production purposes, learn how production issues might impact product design and transferring experience acquired to new engineering tasks, or testing virtual 3D product models and processes e.g. for manufacturability, resilience and risks
  • simulate manufacturing processes, operations and controls so they can be tested, intelligently reviewed and optimised

In addition, there are benefits to potential businesses including knowledge transfer partners, multiple manufacturers and suppliers in a virtual manufacturing network for researching and collaborating on smart and sustainable manufacturing, sharing models and other types of information.

The VM lab is an important part of our manufacturing and supply chain research.

New laboratory investment in a Digital Image Correlation system will allow full-field measurements of stress and strain on small samples with capability to measure static as well as dynamic loading. This will strengthen research on fatigue crack growth and research on interfaces.