Department of Materials


Dr Rebecca Higginson BEng, PhD, FRMS, CSci, CEng, FIMMM, MInstP

Photo of Dr Rebecca Higginson

Reader in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering


Dr Rebecca Higginson graduated from The University College Swansea in 1992 winning the British Steel Travel Award for her practical work. She went on to study for her PhD at Birmingham University on the ‘The Effect of Small Second Phase Particles on the Recrystallisation and Grain Growth in Aluminium’ sponsored by Alcan. In 1995 she became a Post Doctoral Research Associate at Sheffield University working on the thermomechanical processing of stainless steels and aluminium alloys. Whilst at Sheffield she took a part time Postgraduate Diploma in Education. In 2001 she became a Lecturer in Metallurgy at Loughborough University, promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2007, Reader in 2015 and became Head of the Department of Materials in July 2020.


  • BEng 1992
  • PhD 1995
  • FRMS 2002, CSci 2005, CEng 2005, FIMMM 2006, MInstP 2008
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Key awards:

  • Awarded the IOM3 Cook/Ablett Award 2008
  • Awarded the SAGA Best Paper Award 2011
  • IoM3 Stokowiec Medal and Prize “in recognition of distinguished work related to the technical, manufacturing, processing or engineering application of alloy steels, including stainless steels” 2018

Outline of main research interests:

  • Oxide Scale Formation and Characterisation
  • Texture Development
  • Precipitation effects in steels, stainless steels and aluminium alloys
  • Strain Path
  • Microscopy including: SEM, EBSD, TEM
  • Laser material deposition

Grants and contracts:

  • Prediction of Microstructural Evolution During Long Term Thermal Ageing of Type 321 - Type 347 Weldments, EDF, 2013 - 2016
  • Inter-granular Stress Corrosion Cracking in Nickel Base Alloys, Rolls-Royce, 2015 - 2016
  • Colouring of Stainless Steel, Rimex Metals, 2013 - 2016 
  • WHISKERMIT - Manufacturing and in-service tin whisker mitigation strategies for high value electronics, EPSRC, 2011 - 2013 
  • Prediction of Microstructural Evolution during Long Term Thermal Ageing of Austenitic Steels in Both Parent and Weld Metal, EDF, 2010 - 2013 


Current teaching responsibilities:

  • MPA201 - Structure and Properties of Materials (RE)
  • MPA016 - Project (RE)
  • MPA206 - Introduction to Metal Processing (RE)
  • MPB205 - Experimental Skills (RE)
  • MPC101 - Recycling, Sustainability and Environmental Issues (RE)
  • MPC110 - Project (RE)
  • MPC113 - Design and Engineering Materials Project (RE)
  • MPD110 - Masters Project (RE)
  • MPD113 - Design and Engineering Materials Masters Project (RE)
  • MMC910 - Laser Materials Processing
  • MPC130 – Biomaterials Project
  • MPD130 - Biomaterials Masters Project


Current administrative responsibilities:

  • Head of Department
  • Chair of the Staff-Student Committee
  • Under 18s Coordinator
  • Part C and D Year tutor


Hu, J., Green, G., Hogg, S., Higginson, R., Cocks, A. (2020) Effect of microstructure evolution on the creep properties of a polycrystalline 316H austenitic stainless steel. Materials Science and Engineering A, 772. 10.1016/j.msea.2019.138787

Coghlan, L., Yan, S., Shin, A., Pearson, J., Jepson, M.A.E., Higginson, R.L. (2020) Dispersion of complex carbides at the oxidation front during the oxidation of 9Cr-1Mo steel. Corrosion Science, 165. 10.1016/j.corsci.2019.108389

Karunaratne, M.S.A., Yan, S., Thomson, R.C., Coghlan, L., Higginson, R.L. (2020) Modelling carburisation in 9Cr-1Mo ferritic steel tube substrates in experimental CO2 atmospheres. Corrosion Science, 163. 10.1016/j.corsci.2019.108248

Shi, Q., Tse, Y.Y., Higginson, R.L. (2019) Microstructure and texture development during solid consolidation recycling of Ti-6Al-4V. Materials Characterization, 147. 10.1016/j.matchar.2018.10.020

Goffin, N.J., Higginson, R.L., Tyrer, J.R. (2016) Using wire shaping techniques and holographic optics to optimize deposition characteristics in wire-based laser cladding. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 472(2196). 10.1098/rspa.2016.0603

Ashworth, M.A., Wilcox, G.D., Higginson, R.L., Heath, R.J., Liu, C., Mortimer, R.J. (2015) The effect of electroplating parameters and substrate material on tin whisker formation. Microelectronics Reliability, 55(1). 10.1016/j.microrel.2014.10.005

Goffin, N.J., Higginson, R.L., Tyrer, J.R. (2015) The use of holographic optical elements (HOE's) to investigate the use of a flat irradiance profile in the control of heat absorption in wire-fed laser cladding. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 220. 10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2015.01.023

View central publications database

External Collaborators: 

  • EDF
  • Tata Steel
  • Rolls-Royce
  • NPL
  • The University of Sheffield
  • Outokumpu Stainless Steel Research Foundation.
  • ALSTOM Power Materials Research.
  • Solidica Inc. USA
  • RWE nPower

External roles and appointments:

  • EPSRC Peer Review Panel 2004-present;
  • Member of the Royal Microscopical Society Physical Sciences Committee formerly chair Materials Science Section 2008-2013
  • Council Member of Royal Microscopical Society 2013-2015
  • Member of the IOM3 Bulk Metal forming Committee