Dr Manuela Pacella

CEng MIMechE, FHEA, PhD, MEng

  • Senior Lecturer in High Value Manufacturing
  • Academic Integrity Lead

Research groups and centres

Dr Manuela Pacella is a Senior Lecturer in High-Value Manufacturing in the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering. She was appointed Programme Director of BEng/MEng Manufacturing Engineering in 2020 and Academic Integrity Lead in 2021. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), Chartered Engineer, Member of the IMechE and MPDS IMechE Mentor.

She holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Nottingham (2014) and a MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University of Bari (Italy) achieved with summa cum laude. After being awarded her PhD she worked as Application Development Engineer and Advanced Manufacturing Research Engineer for multinational companies such as 3M in Milan (Italy) and Element Six (Harwell Campus, UK).

In 2016 she was appointed Lecturer in Laser Machining at Cardiff University School of Engineering. In 2017 she was nominated for the Blackall Award by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She joined Loughborough University in 2017 as a Lecturer in High Value Manufacturing and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2021.

To date she has acted as primary supervisor of over 4 PhD students, more than 25 UG project students and over 12 MSc students. She served as External Examiner for Research Degree at Birmingham University and as Internal Examiner for several PhD candidates at Loughborough University.

Dr Pacella's research expertise lies in the field of advanced manufacturing technologies and advanced materials for application in the automotive, aerospace, and biomedical field. Her core knowledge is in the following areas:

  • manufacture of 3D complex micro-nano texturing using laser ablation, their metrological and microscopical characterisation
  • surface engineering of difficult-to-cut materials such as polycrystalline diamond, polycrystalline boron nitride and other hard composites
  • surface modification and functionalisation of cutting tools using novel low-energy shock processing with/without coatings
  • evaluation of cutting tools wear performance in application testing for the automotive and aerospace sector

PhD supervision

Dr Pacella currently supervises 4 PhD students as primary supervisor working in the following topics:

  • Surface engineering/reconditioning of hard/ultra-hard tool materials – sponsored by Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)
  • Laser nano-structuring of hydrophobic surfaces in polymers via Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP) – sponsored by TWI
  • Surface engineering of polycrystalline ultra-hard materials
  • Laser surface engineering of biomedical devices

Grants and Contracts

  • Principal Investigator - Innovative self-adapting materials for future coatings - 25k EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing (2020-2021)
  • Principal Investigator - Surface Engineering/reconditioning of hard/ultra-hard tool materials - £53k MTC (2020-2023)
  • Principal Investigator - Laser micromachining of complex freeform surfaces for advanced engineering applications - £42k TWI Ltd (2020-2023)

Current teaching responsibilities

  • WSB505 Manufacturing Design (Module Leader)
  • WSB501 Integrating studies
  • WSB500 Industry Based Project (IBP)
  • WSA505 Integrating studies
  • WSC500 Individual Project
  • WSD500 Advanced Individual Project
  • WSP501 Major Project

Current administrative responsibilities

  • Programme Director BEng/MEng Manufacturing Engineering
  • Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS) mentor for IMechE
  • Personal tutor for UG students
  • Industrial placement student supervisor
  • Marketing lead for Materials and Measurement Research Theme
  • Athena Swan self-assessment committee member

Selected publications

  • Pacella, M.et al. 2019. Microhardness and wear behaviour of polycrystalline diamond after warm laser shock processing with and without coating. International journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials 82, pp. 215-226. (10.1016/j.ijrmhm.2019.04.014)
  • Pacella, M.et al. 2019. Laser micro-nano texturing of a polycrystalline ultra-hard cutting tool to improve wear behaviour. In SPIE 2019 LASE, San Francisco. (10.1117/12.2507208)
  • Pacella, M.et al. 2019. Surface engineering of ultra-hard polycrystalline structures using a nanosecond Yb fibre laser: Effect of process parameters on microstructure, hardness and surface finish. Journal of Materials Processing Technology 266, pp 311-328. (10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2018.11.014)
  • Pacella, M.et al. 2016. An assessment of the wear characteristics of microcutting arrays produced from polycrystalline diamond and cubic boron nitride composites. Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering 138(2), pp. 021001-021016., article number: MANU-14-1583. (10.1115/1.4030761)
  • Pacella, M.et al. 2015. The allotropic transformation of polycrystalline cubic boron nitride structures resulting from the thermal effects of pulsed laser ablation. Diamond and Related Materials 59, pp. 62-68. (10.1016/j.diamond.2015.09.009)
  • Pacella, M.et al. 2014. On the topographical/chemical analysis of polycrystalline diamond pulsed laser ablated surfaces. Procedia CIRP 13, pp. 387-392. (10.1016/j.procir.2014.04.066)
  • Pacella, M.et al. 2014. FIB/TEM/EELS micro/nanometric investigations of the effects of laser ablation on the diamond/binder structure in polycrystalline diamond composites. Journal of Materials Processing Technology 214(5), pp. 1153-1161. (10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2013.10.007)

Professional Certificates

  • Aurora Advance Higher Education leadership development Certificate (2020)
  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy certificate (2020)
  • Completion certificate in Medici Enterprise Training Programme, issued by the University of Birmingham, UK (2019)
  • Certificate in Chartered Engineering, issued by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, UK (2017)


  • Invited speaker at Soapbox science 2017
  • STEM ambassador