National Physical Laboratory

Graham Sims

Current interests

Graham Sims

Graham Sims is an NPL Fellow (Composites and Material Systems) and previously Head of Science (Materials and Engineering) for six years with responsibilities covering science quality, science benchmarking, science strategy and CPD activities. Graham was awarded a NPL Gold Medal "for distinguished service to NPL science leadership" in 2014.

Graham leads the NPL international work on metrology applied to material property measurement, including being Chair of the VAMAS G15 pre-normalisation initiative, and convenes ISO Working Groups in composites and polymers standards. His work has led to the development of 'infrastructure tools' for industry, including Good Practice Guides, Measurement Notes, PC CoDA synthesis and design software, test methods and 20+ international standards. He was awarded the Institute of Materials, Mining and Minerals (IOM3) Holliday Prize for composite materials in 2006. Graham is currently developing an increased interest in eco-design and sustainable use of materials, including drafting of an European Technical Specification on application of life cycle analysis to manufactured nanomaterials.

He is a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences of the University of Surrey, where he supports the university activities and grows interactions through the existing NPL/Surrey University MoU, in particular by funding placements at NPL for industrial doctorates of engineering students.


Graham was awarded a University of Surrey BSc degree in 1968 as the first year to qualify in Materials Technology (with industrial year), having started a metallurgy degree at the founding Battersea College of Advanced Technology. He joined NPL in October 1968. In 1976, Graham completed an external PhD at the University of Surrey on Predicting Impact Performance of Composite Materials. Graham is a CEng, CPhys, and an IOM3 and IOP Fellow. Following a career establishing composite materials research at NPL, he has held Section Head, Divisional Knowledge Leader and Head of Science posts. He was appointed an NPL Fellow in 1999. Outputs of research have included papers, reports, standards, software, test work and consultancy, especially on failure analysis (e.g. TV transmitter aerials, wind-turbine blades) and new product development.

As VAMAS Chairman, he led a major initiative to highlight the importance on metrology applied to material property measurement (i.e. materials metrology), resulting in a report from an ad hoc committee sponsored under VAMAS/CIPM and a MoU between VAMAS and BIPM. He chaired the VAMAS expansion from G7 + EU to G15 + EU through membership from the new major world economies, such as Brazil, India and Korea.

Graham convenes ISO TC61/SC13/WG2 (Composites - Prepreg and Laminates) and ISO TC61/SC2/WG5 (Mechanical properties - Thermal test methods), and is an active member of CEN C249/WG15 (Composites and ASTM D30-Composites). He has been the project leader of 20+ standards over 26 years with involvement with ISO, CEN and BSI. Graham is a member of the Steering Committee of the previous Network Group on Composites in Construction (NGCC) and past member of the Board of the British Composites Society (IOM3). He undertakes proposals assessments for InnovateUK and EPSRC.

Graham is one of the NPL representatives on the Steering Board of an active MoU with Surrey University. In addition, he is a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Impact Acceleration Account, the Management Committee for Micro and NanoMaterials and Technologies (MiNMaT) EngD, and previously the Materials Advisory Panel for the Knowledge Transfer Agreement (KTA) 'emerging materials' platform at Surrey University. He was a member of the Research Advisory Group for Manchester University's National Composites Certification and Evaluation Facility and past External Examiner for the Composites MSc at Imperial College London University.

Role in Group

Graham is currently involved in sustainability activities through membership of the BSI committee responsible for drafting BS 8905 on the assessment of the sustainable use of materials, the drafting of BS 8001 on implementation of a circular economy and as coordinator of the EMIT (Environmental Materials Information Technology) Eco-design Consortium project for Granta Design Ltd, whose partners include Airbus Helicopters, Airbus Defense and Space, Boeing, Emerson Electric, GKN Aerospace, Honeywell, NASA, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Sandia National Laboratories and USA Army Research Laboratories.

Selected publications

Other dissemination outputs

  • CoDA: PC Software for composite design
  • Developing the Metrology for Reliable Materials Property Measurements
    G. D. Sims
    International Workshop on Materials Metrology, Daejon, Korea, 2010 (Invited opening plenary)
  • Materials Data Exchange, Property Databases and Data Quality
    G. D. Sims
    2nd Asian Materials Database Meeting - Sanya, China, 2010 (Invited opening plenary)
  • Project Leader for BS EN ISO 572-4, BS EN ISO 572-5, BS EN ISO 14125, BS EN ISO 14126, BS EN ISO 14127, BS EN ISO 14129, BS EN ISO 14230, BS ISO 10350-2, ISO 6721-11, ISO 15310, ISO 1268-4, ISO 15024, ISO 12815, ISO 15114, EN 13706

Contact details

Tel: 020 8943 6564

Last Updated: 12 Apr 2017
Created: 6 Jan 2012


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