The Cutting Edge Seminars

09:30 - 10:00

Presentation by University of Birmingham

10:00 - 10:30

Surface Modification Using Plasma Laser Technologies


11:00 - 11:20

Technology Development For Wide Area, In-line Deposition of Functional Coatings

Many lab-based processes exist for the deposition of high quality thin films, however in many cases the technology is only capable of coating small areas, batch processing and not scaleable for industrial use.  In addition, these processes can be inflexible or have high set-up or running costs.  The CVD research group at Salford University has overcome these problems by the development of a range of atmospheric pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) coaters with the ability to scale-up and integrate into industrial processes.  The CVD systems employ thermal, flame and plasma technologies, and multiple precursor delivery technologies including flash evaporation and aerosol.  They are used for producing tailored thin film coatings with added value functional properties. Depending on the exact process it is possible to deposit on low melting point materials such as plastics.

This presentation will demonstrate how CVD technology can be adapted to meet a range of nanostructured coating and surface structure for wider application.  Recently these have included the development of the various layers which make up an active solar cell from the front transparent conductor to the electric current producing absorber. The choice of deposition parameters was critical to material properties and hence optimisation of cell performance.  Another CVD application for self-clean surfaces utilises the photocatalytic and hydrophilic behaviour of titania to degrade and remove organic dirt from glazing or ceramics.  This can be combined with coatings to provide infection control surfaces, which are a crucial addition to the fight against the continued spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.   Further examples could include anti-reflection, hydrophobic or abrasion resistant materials.


11:20 - 11:40

Thermal Performance of Thermal Paint and Surface Coatings in Buildings in Heating Dominated Climates

A wall treatment is it purported that simple wall coverings or treatments of less than 1mm can reduce the heating load of an older solid wall type of home.  These claims are the subject of much debate.  The objective of this research was to use a systematic study of the currently available products using internationally accepted test methods to study the likelihood and quantity of any savings that can be directly attributed.

Following a detailed study of the coatings in the thermal laboratory in series of experiments, including traditional coatings such as normal paint, the samples were examined under a scanning electronic microscope and x ray analysis to understand the internal structure of the materials.

The provided a series of material characteristics that we re used to make changes to a fully validated, calibrated model of the Energy House test facility at the University of Salford  (Marshall et al., 2017),

The main findings of this work are:

  • Measured thermal resistance of thermal paint and general wall coverings are alike.
  • Thermal paint coatings & additives are thin (<1 mm) and do not show low-e surfaces.
  • Regular EPS liners give more effective thermal insulation levels at a lower cost.
  • Microscopy of insulating additives suggest the structure is not nano-porous.
  • The payback period is longer than a human life span for thermal paint coatings.



11:40 - 12:00

Virtual Reality Games to Engage Stakeholders in the Importance of Microbial Growth on Surfaces and Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance

Bacteria colonise surfaces and secrete sugars (exopolysaccharides) to form a highly organised protective matrix (biofilm). Microorganisms within biofilms show increased resistance to external stresses such as desiccation, disinfectants and antibiotics. The UK 20-year vision for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) encourages the engagement of many different disciplines to develop solutions, including novel antimicrobial materials to improve infection prevention control measures.

We formed a muti-disciplinary collaboration between microbiologists, computer scientists and virtual reality developers to create a virtual bacterial biofilm from real experimental data. Our pilot virtual reality game (#VR-Biofilms) is based on confocal microscope images of a real biofilm formed on a glass slide by the opportunistic bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Each pixel was rendered into a virtual reality environment to create a microbial world for the user to explore. We used a mixed-media approach with real experimental footage, 360 video, audio and graphic design. The game takes the user through a real biofilm experiment and demonstrates how incorrect antibiotic use can drive AMR. We have trialled the game during lectures, science festivals and stakeholder events, with very positive responses from target audience, parents and healthcare practitioners. This tool could also help to engage with manufacturers of antimicrobial surfaces designed to reduce bacterial contamination, damage or blockage of pipes caused by bacterial biofilms.

VR-Biofilms is part of a wider platform of alternative outreach activities (“The MICROBIhOME”), which includes live microbial DNA sequencing, hands-on bacterial art and augmented reality environments. This approach aims to broaden the reach of engagement on AMR, but also to nurture multi-disciplinary thinking that will inspire the next generation of research to tackle global challenges.



  • Dr Chloe James Senior Lecturer, Medical Microbiology - University of Salford
14:00 - 14:20

Robust and Multifunctional Nanoengineered Surfaces


14:20 - 14:40

Optical Coatings for Healthcare and Energy Applications


14:40 - 15:00

Mesoporous Coatings for Self-cleaning, Antireflection and Sensing Applications


16:00 - 16:20

Accessing the Expertise and Cutting Edge Technology at Warwick


  • View full profile for Dr Ian HancoxDr Ian Hancox Operational Manager of the Research Technology Platforms (RTPs) - University of Warwick
16:20 - 16:40

Attracting Graduate Talent – How to Sharpen Your Approach


16:40 - 17:00

Presentation by University of Warwick

09:30 - 09:50

Coatings for Biomaterials Applications

A number of different approaches can be adopted to create surface and coatings on biomaterials to enhance their function such as improved osteoconductivity for bone applications, or as a preventative action to combat infection.  Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) allows a range of active coatings to be deposited onto metal, ceramic and polymer implant materials. PVD can also be used as a base for translational coatings. Here we present our recent developments research into novel coatings based on phosphate based glass or translational titanate coatings that have potential for biomaterial applications.


09:50 - 10:10

New Applications of Pulsed Electron Irradiation in Surface Engineering

The next generation of manufactured components will be built to near net shape, for example through additive manufacturing, or machined to complex shapes by EDM. The surface quality of parts is critical to their mechanical properties and through these process, poor surface finish is produced. Pulsed electron irradiation is a new method for uniformly modifying morphological, microstructural and mechanical properties of such parts over a large-area, in a contamination free environment. Recent developments in this space will be presented.


  • Dr James Murray Research Fellow, Faculty of Engineering - University of Nottingham
10:10 - 10:30

Icephobic Coatings and Surfaces

Ice accretion on aircraft surface often causes serious hazards that would directly affect flight safety, and the flight performance and fuel efficiency will also be significantly influenced. Various ice protection strategies have been applied in the past decades. The current passive ice protection mainly refers to the use of icephobic coatings or surface to delay and minimize the formation of ice, and lower the ice adhesion strength to facilitate the removal of ice naturally. Some recent development of icephobic coatings and surface will be presented.


  • Dr Xianghui Hou Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering - University of Nottingham
11:20 - 11:40

Smart Coating System to Monitor Strain and Fracture


11:40 - 12:00

Novel Water Based Epoxy Curing Agents to Maximize Productivity and Performance

The coatings industry faces challenges of stringent, low emission requirements while fulfilling the need to improve productivity and reduce costs, without affecting coating performance.

This presentation discusses the development of a new waterborne epoxy curing agent based on novel amine technology. It provides extremely fast cure, even under adverse conditions, such as low temperature and high humidity; superior adhesion to substrates, particularly damp concrete; and excellent aesthetics as a topcoat. This enables formulators to design new concepts such as a one-day floor system, consisting of a primer and topcoat applied on the same day, which delivers walk-on readiness the next morning.


Innovation Framework and the Journey of Disruptive Technology