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Alan Turnbull

Alan Turnbull

NPL Senior Fellow

Alan is a Senior NPL Fellow. He is expert in environment-induced cracking of metals, localised corrosion, and modelling of corrosion processes. Alan's work has also led to the establishment of new areas of science at NPL, including fuel cell research, excitonic photovoltaics, and nanoscale electrochemistry and catalysis.


Since joining NPL in 1973, Alan has produced over 250 publications and has been the principal author of 12 international standards. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Honor Fellow of NACE, and Fellow of the Institute of Corrosion. He is a recipient of: the T P Hoar Award (twice) and the U R Evans Award from the Institute of Corrosion; a Technical Achievement Award from NACE International; the Cavallaro Medal from the European Federation of Corrosion; the Whitney Award from NACE International; and the Alex Hough-Grassby Award from the Institute of Measurement and Control. In 2018 he received the Guy Bengough Award from the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) for his paper on “Characterising the early stages of crack development in environment-assisted cracking”.

Alan was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011 and Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013. In 2016, he was awarded the OBE for services to science and industry.

Areas of interest

Alan's current research is focused principally on the following topics:

  • Stress corrosion and sulphide stress corrosion cracking of corrosion resistant alloys in oil and gas applications

  • Environmentally assisted small crack growth rate measurement in steam turbine materials in simulated condensate

  • Atmospheric stress corrosion cracking including nuclear waste containment materials and high strength low alloy steel in marine environments

  • Localised corrosion and cracking of additive manufactured alloys

  • Development of international standards for environmentally assisted cracking

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Recent publications

1. Do corrosion pits eliminate the benefits of shot-peening?, A. Turnbull, L. Crocker, S. Zhou, Int. J. Fatigue 116, 439-447 (2018)

2. Modelling of the electrochemical crack size effect on stress corrosion crack growth rate, A. Turnbull, L. Wright, Corros. Sci. 126, 69-77 (2017)

3. Microcrack clustering in stress corrosion cracking of 22Cr and 25Cr duplex stainless steels, L. Wickström, K. Mingard, G. Hinds, A. Turnbull, Corros. Sci. 109 86–93 (2016)

4. Perspectives on hydrogen uptake, diffusion and trapping, A. Turnbull, Int. J. Hydrogen Energy, 40 16961-16970 (2015)

5. Corrosion pitting and environmentally assisted small crack growth, A. Turnbull, Proc. Roy. Soc. A 470, 20140254 (2014)

6. Electrochemical short crack effect in environmentally assisted cracking of a steam turbine blade steel, A. Turnbull, S. Zhou, Corros. Sci. 58, 33-40 (2012)

7. Sensitivity of stress corrosion cracking of stainless steel to surface machining and grinding procedure, A. Turnbull, K. Mingard, J.D. Lord, B. Roebuck, D.R. Tice, K.J. Mottershead, N.D. Fairweather, A.K. Bradbury, Corros. Sci. 53, 3398-3415 (2011)

8. Novel images of the evolution of stress corrosion cracks from corrosion pits, D.A. Horner, B.J. Connolly, S. Zhou, L. Crocker, A. Turnbull, Corros. Sci. 53 3466-3485 (2011)