National Physical Laboratory

Mechanical test specimens Engineered Materials

The Engineered Materials group at NPL use a wide range of techniques to understand product performance and the relationship between a material's properties and structure.

With accurate measurements of properties and microstructure, product performance can be improved by modifying the composition, controlling internal stresses or adding coatings or texturing surfaces.

The Group offers specialist knowledge and expertise in metals, ceramics, hard materials and coatings, and through the optimisation of test methods and materials characterisation, can aid material selection, component design and process development. 

Research at NPL focuses on:

  • Mechanical properties: from macroscale properties of bulk materials to miniaturised tests to study variations of properties within products, aiding the understanding of failure mechanisms
  • Residual stress and full field strain measurement at a number of length scales, from microstructural analysis to buildings
  • Long term performance of materials in service conditions, high temperature corrosion and exposure to harsh environments for structural alloys and coatings
  • Surface engineering and tribology: sliding wear, abrasion, erosion, scratch testing, micro-tribology
  • Nanomechanical testing for surface and coatings properties by nanoindentation, surface waves and AFM
  • Microstructural analysis using the latest electron, laser and optical imaging techniques in 2D and 3D
  • Material properties such as density, thermal expansion, modulus, creep, alloy viscosity.

Engineered Materials


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