Department of Materials


Professor Gary Critchlow BSc, PhD, FIMMM, FIMF

Photo of Professor Gary Critchlow

Professor of Surface and Interface Science


Gary has worked for Loughborough University since January 1987; initially as a member of the Surface Analysis Group of Loughborough Consultants Ltd located within the Physics Department. In 1990 this group became the Institute of Surface Science and Technology (ISST) and was later integrated within the Institute of Polymer Technology and Materials Engineering (IPTME) now the Department of Materials. Gary is currently Professor of Surface and Interface Science, responsible for a number of major fundamental research projects and at any moment in time manages a number of industrial consultancies. He became Head of the Department of Materials in 2017 until July 2020.


  • BSc, York
  • PhD, Loughborough

Key awards:

  • Corrosion Award 2002 from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
  • J.M.Rape Memorial Medal from the Institute of Metal Finishing (2009)
  • Canning Bi-Centenary Medal 2010 from the Institute of Metal Finishing, for his paper “Hot and cold cleaning methods: CO2 and Nd:YAG laser ablation, sodium hydride immersion and CO2 cryoblasting”

Outline of main research interests:

Gary’s research interests include the invention and development of novel surface processes and multifunctional materials which are aimed towards meeting the specific demands of industry. This research is multidisciplinary in nature, drawing from expertise in the fields of; materials, mechanical engineering, physics and chemistry.

Current studies are concerned with: the development of novel processes for optimised adhesion and corrosion resistance imparted to metals including aluminium alloys and steels and the modelling of joints to determine the lifetime of bonded structures taking into account complex loading and environmental considerations. Some prebond treatments, particularly those suitable for aerospace use have been upscaled for commercial use. Gary also has a large interest in polymer modification using nanoparticles to provide adhesives and coatings with advanced properties.

Grants and contracts:

  • Optimisation of Stress Transfer in Adhesively-bonded Armour - Dstl (UK) and DGA (France) - value £236k
  • Materials and Processes for the Production of Low Cost Turbojet Components - Microturbo (France) - value £109k
  • Study of Conducting Oxides - European Space Agency - value £178k
  • Strategies for Dismantleable Adhesion - Dstl-AWE - value £144k
  • HITEA: REACH Compliant Chrome Replacements for Corrosion Protection - EPSRC-TSB - value £2.2M
  • AMSCA: Accelerated Manufacturing with Chrome Free Sacrificial Coatings in Aerospace - TSB - value £2.1M

Commercialisation of research:

Inventor of patent GB 2421 959 A Anodising of Aluminium Alloy.
Commercialisation ongoing in collaboration with Bombardier Aerospace.

In a consultancy capacity Gary has authored over 500 confidential reports to industrial clients from all manufacturing sectors on topics including:

  • Thin film characterisation
  • Various aspects of surface engineering
  • Corrosion
  • Failure analysis and contamination identification

These have consultancies have led to an income of over £1M to date for Loughborough University.

Current teaching responsibilities:

  • MPP559 - Adhesive Bonding
  • MPP552/MPP652 - Materials Selection for Design
  • MPP551 - Advanced Characterisation Techniques
  • MPC008 - Surface Engineering
  • TTB207 - Body Engineering and Automotive Engineering
  • MPP207 - Surface Engineering
  • MPC104/MPD103 - Tomorrow's Materials

Current administrative responsibilities:

  • Departmental Seminar Coordinator
  • CIP (PG) Panel
  • Postgraduate (Teaching) Working Group

Yuan, B., Harvey, C.M., Thomson, R.C., Critchlow, G.W., Rickerby, D., Wang, S. (2019) Spontaneous formation and morphology of telephone cord blisters in thin films: The Ω formulae. Composite Structures, 225. 10.1016/j.compstruct.2019.111108

Yuan, B., Harvey, C.M., Thomson, R.C., Critchlow, G.W., Rickerby, D., Wang, S. (2019) A new spallation mechanism of thermal barrier coatings and a generalized mechanical model. Composite Structures, 227. 10.1016/j.compstruct.2019.111314

Crookes, R.G., Wu, H., Martin, S.J., Kay, C., Critchlow, G.W. (2019) Bio-inspired platelet reinforced elastomeric-ceramic composites for impact and high strain rate applications. Composites Science and Technology, 184. 10.1016/j.compscitech.2019.107857

Harvey, C.M., Wang, S., Yuan, B., Thomson, R.C., Critchlow, G.W. (2018) Determination of mode I and II adhesion toughness of monolayer thin films by circular blister tests. Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics, 94. 10.1016/j.tafmec.2018.01.006

West, J.O.F., Critchlow, G.W., Lake, D.R., Banks, R. (2016) Development of a superhydrophobic polyurethane-based coating from a two-step plasma-fluoroalkyl silane treatment. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 68. 10.1016/j.ijadhadh.2016.03.007

Carbas, R.J.C., Viana, G.M.S.O., Da Silva, L.F.M., Critchlow, G.W. (2015) Functionally graded adhesive patch repairs of wood beams in civil applications. Journal of Composites for Construction, 19(2). 10.1061/(ASCE)CC.1943-5614.0000500

Carbas, R.J.C., Da Silva, L.F.M., Critchlow, G.W. (2014) Adhesively bonded functionally graded joints by induction heating. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 48. 10.1016/j.ijadhadh.2013.09.045

 View central publications database

External collaborators:

  • Recent and current research partners include:
  • 3M
  • Atomic Weapons Establishment(AWE)
  • Bombardier Aerospace
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory(DSTL)
  • European Space Agency(ESA)
  • GE Avaition
  • Rolls-Royce
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Oporto
  • University of Toulouse

External roles and appointments:

  • Past Chairman of the Society for Adhesion and Adhesives (an IoMMM Group). Gary is currently a Committee Member
  • Member of the Light Metals Division Board of the IoMMM
  • Member of the Surface Engineering Division Board of the IoMMM
  • Past President of the East Midlands Materials Society (a local Society of IoMMM)
  • Sole or co-organiser of fourteen major events/conferences over the past five years on behalf of Loughborough University or learned societies

Gary is professionally active member of the International Editorial Board of both the International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives and the Journal of Adhesion.  He also regularly referees for a number of other materials-related journals.