Department of Materials


Dr Houzheng Wu BEng, MPhil, DPhil

Photo of Dr Houzheng Wu


Programme Director: Design with Engineering Materials

Advanced Materials Research Theme Leader


Houzheng attained a B. Eng and M. Eng in Hunan University and Tianjin University, respectively, in China, and D. Phil in Oxford University from the Department of Materials. He started his higher education career in Tianjin University, China as an Assistant Professor, Lecturer, then to Associated Professor and Professor. He became the Director of the Key Laboratory of Advanced Ceramics and Machining Techniques, funded by the Ministry of Education, after being the Deputy-Director. He was a Visiting Scientist in Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation for a short period of time, and then awarded a Sino-British Friendship Fellowship for one year. He had worked in Oxford University as a Research Fellow for more than four years. He is a Senior Lecturer at Loughborough University, after a similar post at Coventry University.


  • BEng, MPhil, (China)
  • D.Phil, (Oxford)

Outline of main research interests:

He has longstanding  research experience in advanced ceramics, carbon materials and composites from ceramic engine components design and manufacture, strengthening/toughening through transformation and various reinforcements (nanoparticles, short/long fibres), to understanding of  contact damage under quasi-static to high strain rates, irradiation damage, and tribological behaviour of contacting materials. His current focus is:

  • Carbon Fibre Reinforced Carbon/Ceramic Composites, including matrix development through various impregnating and depositing technologies, surface coating, and sustainable ways of using raw materials, to improve their performance for various applications, such as light weight, durable and performance brakes, nuclear reactor components and heat shields.
  • Armour Ceramics, including design and manufacture of armour ceramics for better performance by using nano-sized reinforcements to interfere the mechanisms that govern the dynamic damage; understanding the underpinned mechanisms through studying fragments by various microscopy techniques; exploring more accessible techniques to assess the ballistic resistant competency of ceramics.
  • Nuclear Materials, including development of manufacture process of ceramic composites and graphite for Gen IV nuclear reactors; characterisation of mechanical behaviour at micro/mini-meter scales to establish correlations between microstructure and mechanical property at macro-scale; experimentally understanding the impact of microstructure features on the irradiation damage.

Read more about Advanced Friction Materials research activity »

Read more about Materials Damage research activity »

Grants and contracts:

  • “Low cost carbon fibre ceramic composites for brake disc application”, funded by the Transport iNet, 2013-2014
  • “MAST STC Core Programme - Ceramic Composites”, funded by DSTL 2013-2014 “Development of friction materials suitable for RAT brakes”, funded by Flight Refuelling Ltd, 2012-2015
  • “Development of low cost carbon-fibre reinforced ceramics (CFRC) blanks for brake discs”, funded by FORMAX Ltd, 2012-2013
  • Understanding and Improving ceramic armour materials, funded by EPSRC, 2009-2013
  • Sustainable surface engineered carbon fibre reinforced ceramic composites friction materials (SurFace), funded by TSB, 2009-2012
  • Processing and Microstructure Control of Ferritic Steels for Fusion, funded by the Royal Society, 2009-2010
  • FEMaS, funded by European Fusion Development Association, 2009-2011
  • Extended life and innovative recycling of carbon waste for friction applications, funded by EPSRC, 2007-2010


Current teaching responsibilities:

  • MPA102 Experimentation
  • MPA104 Introduction to Product Design and Materials Selection
  • MPB106 Packaging Design
  • MPB107 Product Design
  • MPB108 Visual Design
  • MPB109 Product Design
  • MPP552 Design with Engineering Materials
  • DTB015 Design and Manufacturing Technologies (BA)
  • DTB016 Design and Manufacturing Technologies (BSc)

Current administrative responsibilities:

  • Programme Director: Design with Engineering Materials
  • Leader of Advanced Materials Research Theme


Recent publications: 

Representative papers have been published in recent years:

  • Wu H. Ghosh S., Dancer C.E.J. & Todd R.I. “Ballistic Damage of Alumina Ceramics – Learning from Fragments”,  Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, in press 2014
  • Wu H. “Understanding Residual Stresses and Fracture Toughness in Ceramic Nanocomposites,” Chapter 10 in Residual Stresses in Composite Materials, Woodhead Publishing Series in Composites Science and Engineering, Cambridge, UK
  • Wang Y & Wu H. “Microstructure of Friction Surface Developed on Carbon Fibre Reinforced Carbon-Silicon Carbide (Cf/C-SiC), J. Eu. Ceram. Soc., 32[12], 2012, 3509-3519.
  • Swarbric A. & Wu H. “Surface Conditioning of Carbon-fiber Ceramic Rotors against Organic Pads”, SAE Technical Papers;2012-01-1833, 2012.
  • Leatherbarrow A. & Wu H. “Mechanical Behaviour of the Constituents inside Carbon Fibre/Carbon-Silicon Carbide Composites Chatacterised by Nano-indentation. J. Eu. Ceram. Soc., 32[2], 2012, 3509-3519.
  • Wu, H., Wang Y., Pindar  D. & Ferdani P. “Interaction Between Ceramic Matrix Composite and Organic Pad Materials and its Impact on the Friction Performance”, SAE Technical Paper 2011-01-2350, 2011.
  • Wu  H. “Braking the Mould”, Materials World, 18[1], 2010, 29-30.
  • Wang Y. & Wu H. “Friction Surface Evolution of Carbon-fibre Reinforced Carbon-Silicon Carbide Composites (Cf/C-SiC), J. Eu. Ceram. Soc., 30, 2010, 3187-3201.
  • Wu H.Z., Roberts S.G. & Derby B. “Ductile Deformation in Al2O3/SiC Nanocomposites”, Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Vol 30[7], 2009, pp 155–165.
  • Wu, H.Z., Roberts, S.G. and Derby, B., ''Residual Stress Distributions Around Indentations and Scratches in Polycrystalline Al2O3/SiC Nanocomposites Measured Using Fluorescence Probes'', Acta Materialia, 56, 2008, pp 140-149.
  • Tanner, B.K., Wu, H. and Roberts, S.G., ''Sub-Surface Damage in Ground and Annealed Alumina and Alumina-Silicon Carbide Nanocomposites'', J. Am. Ceram. Soc., 89(12), 2006, pp 3745-3750.
  • Swanson, P.T., Page, C.J., Read, E. and Wu, H., ''Plasma Augmented Laser Welding of 6 mm Steel Plate'', Science and Technology of Welding and Joining, 12(2), 2007, p 153.

 View central publications database


External Collaborators: 

  • Advanced Composites Group
  • Alcon Components Ltd
  • AP Racing
  • Babcock International Group
  • Bentley Motors Ltd
  • Cobham Mission Equipment
  • Durham University
  • ESL ElectroScience, USA
  • FAIVELEY Transport Birkenhead
  • Federal-Mogul Friction Products Ltd
  • FOMAX Ltd.
  • Jaguar Land Rover Limited
  • Lucideon Ltd
  • Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems Ltd
  • Morgan Advance Materials & Technology – Technical Ceramics
  • Morgan Advanced Materials - Composites and Defence Systems
  • Oxford University (Materials Dept. and Engineering Dept.)
  • Shanghai Institute of Ceramics
  • Sinosteel Advanced Materials Co. Ltd.
  • Surface Transforms Plc
  • Surry University
  • The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
  • The Wichita Company

External roles and appointments:

  • Member of EPSRC Peer Review College
  • Member of the Materials and Design Exchange (MaDE) Board
  • Journal referee of  Acta Materials, Ceramics International, Computing Materials Science, International Journal of Ceramic Technology, Journal of American Ceramic Society, Journal of Automotive Engineering, Journal of Engineering Manufacture, Journal of Materials Science, Journal of the European Ceramic Society, Materials Chemistry and Physics, Materials Letter, Materials Science and Engineering, Philosophical Magazine Letters, Physics, Tribology International, Ultrasonics Sonochemistry.