Seminar Series

Modelling microstructure evolution in engineering materials – applications to thin films, nano-structures and coatings


Prof Alan Cocks


Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

Time & Place

Wed, 06 Nov 2019 15:00:49 NZDT in E12 (Engineering Core)


In this talk I will describe a modelling approach we have developed based on a fundamental thermodynamic/kinetic variational principle. The variational principle contains two major components – a rate potential that contains information about the relevant kinetic or dissipative processes in a given situation; and the rate of change of Gibbs free energy, which provides the thermodynamic driving forces. Detailed numerical procedures and simplified Rayleigh-Ritz type approaches can be developed from the variational principle. The approach will be illustrated through a number of examples. This will include applications to the sintering of thermal barrier coatings used in the aerospace and power-generating industries and to the study of instabilities in thin films during deposition, leading to island formation.

Mech Eng seminar, Alan Cocks


Alan Cocks is the Professor of Materials Engineering at Oxford University and is Head of the Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering Group in the Department of Engineering Science. He is also a Professorial Fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Prior to moving to Oxford in 2006 he held academic positions at the Universities of Leicester and Cambridge in the UK and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA. He has also held visiting positions at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Harvard University in the USA and ENS-Cachan, France. His main research interests are concerned with modelling the relationship between microstructure and the mechanical performance of engineering materials, particularly at elevated temperatures. He has been on advisory boards for Rolls-Royce and for the nuclear power generating industry in the UK. In 2019 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK.

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