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Professor Bill (W.J.) Clegg

Research Interests


My research, within the Gordon Laboratory, is on the processing and thermomechanical behaviour of ceramics and composite structures.

Deformation of small volumes

The deformation behaviour of a very small volume of material is found to be very different from that of bulk material and is typical of the deformation processes in localized loading, for instance in wear and erosion, or in small, thin-film devices. As well as studying how the mechanisms of deformation change as the scale is reduced, we are developing an array of techniques around nanoindentation to study plastic flow, fatigue and wear in small volumes and over a range of temperatures and environments.

Materials for extreme thermal loading

There are many applications that require the rapid removal of heat, but which also demand the control of other properties such as thermal expansivity, sometimes outside the limits of most existing materials. We are looking at how materials might be combined into novel structures allowing even greater heat removal.

Stresses in drying colloidal films

The stresses that develop during the drying of a colloidal film can lead to cracking and changes of shape in the film. Although a very old problem, the origin of these effects is still not understood. When liquid evaporates from a colloid, stresses build up that can lead to fracture or shape changes in the films. This imposes a resolution limit on printing techniques used for making fine structures. Attempts are also being made to use these forces to pattern surfaces. To understand the underlying reasons for the build-up of forces, we have been studying the strains that develop during drying, particularly as the particles become very close to one another.


  • Materials