Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Department of Materials


Materials Damage

Most of our research focuses on ceramics and composites. Understanding damage of ceramics is not just to test its mechanical capability, but also to learn how microstructural features at all length scales influence the initiation and development of a specific damaging process. This information is essential for guiding the microstructural design of ceramics to achieve their best performance. These microstructural features include grain size, porosity, grain boundary, as well as nano-sized dispersant, multi-phase, sub-grain boundary, weak lattice plane, grain/pore shape, and fibrous features.

Damage processes can include a format as lattice slipping, shearing, microcracking, crack propagation, and fragmentation. Interaction of damage process with a microstructural feature is also influenced by external loading conditions, such as type of stressing (tension, compression, shear) and strain rate, as well as environment conditions such as temperature, water, etc. Our research in this area is largely based on post-damage experimental analysis to reconstruct the damage processes and retrieve how the microstructural features influence these processes.

Dr Houzheng Wu
Team leader

Guangyu Bian
PhD Researcher, Post-doctoral Research Assistant
Understanding friction induced damage of surface of ceramics and ceramic composites.

Works as a PDRA in North West Polytechnic University China

Robert Crooks
PhD researcher (current)
Understanding elastomers and elastomer/ceramic composites coatings in enhancing the damage resistance of armour ceramics and glasses.

Santonu Gosh
Post-doctoral Research Associate
Understanding and improving ceramic armour materials, funded by EPSRC, with a focus on examination of fragments of armour ceramics after ballistic shock or dynamic impact with gas gun, SHPB and indentation.

Works as a material scientist in Element Six

Andy Leatherbarrow
PhD researcher, Post-doctoral Research Associate.
Understand damage of carbon fibre reinforce ceramic composites using nanoindentation
Later Worked as materials scientists in Germany, Lockheed Martin, etc.

Stuart Robertson
PhD researcher (current)
Understanding damage of micro pillars and beams of ceramics under compression and bend loading conditions

James Wade
PhD researcher
Contact damage of ceramics and ceramic nanocomposites

Woks as a PDRA on thermal creep of nuclear graphite in Manchester University

Yuan Wang
PhD Researcher
Understanding friction induced damage on the friction surface of carbon fibre reinforced silicon carbide composite

joined in Exeter University as a PDRA

Ying Zhu
PhD researchers
Development of ceramics nanocomposite for armour application and understanding of the impact of nano-sized dispersants on the dynamic impact resistance of ceramic composites.


  • Strengthening and toughening of nano-dispersants in ceramic nanocomposites
  • Dynamic impact (ballistic shock, Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar, drop weight) induced damage
  • Quasi-static loading induced fracture – Hertzian indentation, micro pillar compression, and micro beam bending
  • Surface finish (grinding and lapping) induced damage in ceramics
  • Sharp point contact induced damage
  • Contact friction induced damage
  • Degradation of glass fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP)

1. G Bian, H Wu (2016), Friction surface structure of a Cf/C-SiC composite brake disc after bedding testing on a full-scale dynamometer, Tribology International, in printing.

2. J Wade, S Robertson, Y Zhu, H Wu (2016), Plastic deformation of polycrystalline alumina introduced by scaled-down drop-weight impacts, Materials Letter, in printing.

3. HL Liu, GJ Zhang, JX Liu, H Wu (2015), Synergetic roles of ZrC and SiC in ternary ZrB 2–SiC–ZrC ceramics, Journal of the European Ceramic Society 35 (16), 4389-4397.

4. G Bian, H Wu (2015), Friction and surface fracture of a silicon carbide ceramic brake disc tested against a steel pad, Journal of the European Ceramic Society 35 (14), 3797-3807.

5. J Wade, S Ghosh, P Claydon, H Wu (2015), Contact damage of silicon carbide ceramics with different grain structures measured by Hertzian and Vickers indentation, Journal of the European Ceramic Society 35 (6), 1725-1736.

6. H Wu, S Ghosh, CEJ Dancer, RI Todd (2015), Ballistic Damage of Alumina Ceramics‐Learning from Fragments, Advances in Ceramic Armor X, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 49-62,

7. H Wu (2014), Understanding residual stresses and fracture toughness in ceramic nanocomposites, Residual Stresses in Composite Materials, Woodhead Publishing, pp. 256-292.

8. J Wade, P Claydon, H Wu (2014), Plastic Deformation and Cracking Resistance of SiC Ceramics Measured by Indentation, Mechanical Properties and Performance of Engineering Ceramics and Composites IX, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 91-100.

9. J Wade, H Wu (2013), Hardness of alumina/silicon carbide nanocomposites at various silicon carbide volume percentages, Nanostructured Materials and Nanotechnology VII, pp.119-130.

10. Y Wang, H Wu (2012), Microstructure of friction surface developed on carbon fibre reinforced carbon–silicon carbide (C f/C–SiC), Journal of the European Ceramic Society 32 (12), 3509-3519.

11. H Wu, Y Wang (2011), Friction Surface Damage of Carbon-Fibre Reinforced Carbon-Silicon Carbide Composites (Cf/C-SiC), Key Engineering Materials 484, 32-35.

12. A Leatherbarrow, H Wu (2011), Mechanical behaviour of the constituents inside carbon-fibre/carbon-silicon carbide composites characterised by nano-indentation, Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 32(3), 579-88.

13. Y Wang, H Wu (2010), Friction surface evolution of carbon fibre reinforced carbon/silicon carbide (Cf/C-SiC) composites, Journal of the European Ceramic Society 30 (15), 3187-3201.

14. PP Shukla, J Lawrence, H Wu (2010), Fracture toughness of a zirconia engineering ceramic and the effects thereon of surface processing with fibre laser radiation, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture 224.10 (2010): 1555-1569.

15. H Wu, S Roberts, B Derby (2009), Ductile deformation in alumina/silicon carbide nanocomposites. Nanostructured Materials and Nanotechnology III, pp.155-164.

16. H Wu, SG Roberts, B Derby (2008), Residual stress distributions around indentations and scratches in polycrystalline Al2O3 and Al2O3/SiC nanocomposites measured using fluorescence probes, Acta Materialia 56 (1), 140-149.

17. H Wu, S Hughes, A Lamperti, B Tanner (2007), Near surface damage characterisation of biomedical grade Y-TZP, Tissue Engineering 13 (6), 1388-1388.

18. BK Tanner, H Wu, SG Roberts, Sub‐Surface Damage in Ground and Annealed Alumina and Alumina–Silicon Carbide Nanocomposites, Journal of the American Ceramic Society 89 (12), 3745-3750.

19. BK Tanner, HZ Wu, SG Roberts, High-resolution parallel-bram powder diffraction measurement of sub-surface damage in alumina-silicon carbide nanocomposite, Advances in X-ray Analysis 49, 169-174.

20. Z Peng, S Cai, Y Wang, Y Zhang, L Jin, H Wu (2005), Polishing Behavior of 85 Al2O3/SiC Nanocomposites. Xiyou Jinshu Cailiao yu Gongcheng(Rare Metal Materials and Engineering) 34, 424-427.

21. BK Tanner, HZ Wu, SG Roberts (2005), Direct evidence for compressive elastic strain at ground surfaces of nanocomposite ceramics, Applied Physics Letters 86, 061909.

22. BK Tanner, HZ Wu, SG Roberts, TPA Hase (2004), Subsurface damage in alumina and alumina–silicon carbide nanocomposites, Philosophical magazine 84 (12), 1219-1232.

23. HZ Wu, SG Roberts, G Möbus, BJ Inkson (2003), Subsurface damage analysis by TEM and 3D FIB crack mapping in alumina and alumina/5vol.% SiC nanocomposites, Acta Materialia 51 (1), 149-163.

24. BK Tanner, TPA Hase, HZ Wu (2001), Determination of the depth distribution of subsurface damage during polishing of alumina, Philosophical magazine letters 81 (5), 351-355.

25. H Wu, SG Roberts, B Derby (2001), Residual stress and subsurface damage in machined alumina and alumina/silicon carbide nanocomposite ceramics, Acta Materialia 49 (3), 507-517.

26. H Wu, BJ Inkson, SG Roberts (2001), Subsurface deformation of machined Al2O3 and Al2O3/5vol% SiC nanocomposite, Journal of microscopy 201 (2), 212-220.

27. H Wu (2001), Surface damage and strengthening in alumina-silicon carbide nanocomposites. PhD thesis, University of Oxford.

28. AM Cock, HZ Wu, SG Roberts (2001), Polishing and wear behaviour of sintered alumina-silicon carbide nanocomposites, British ceramic proceedings, 31-38.

29. BJ Inkson, HZ Wu, T Steer, G Möbus (2000), 3D mapping of subsurface cracks in alumina using FIB MRS Proceedings 649, Q7. 7.

30. HZ Wu, JM Titchmarsh, SG Roberts, B Derby (1999), Crack healing in an alumina/silicon carbide nanocomposite after grinding and annealing, MRS Proceedings 581, 327

31. HZ Wu, SG Roberts, AJ Winn, B Derby (1999), Residual Stress Determination and Subsurface Microstructure in Ground and Polished Alumina/Silicon Carbide Nanocomposites and Monolithic Alumina Ceramics, MRS Proceedings 581 (1).

32. HZ Wu, CW Lawrence, SG Roberts, B Derby (1998), The strength of Al2O3/SiC nanocomposites after grinding and annealing, Acta materialia 46 (11), 3839-3848.

33. CW Lawrence, HZ Wu, A Franco, SG Roberts, B Derby (1998), Erosion resistance of hot pressed Al2O3/SiC nanocomposites, Silicates industriels, 73-75


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25th May 2016
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Loughborough University, UK