Allan Matthews

Allan Matthews


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Personal profile

Research interests

• Duplex and Hybrid processing methods.

• Plasma assisted PVD processes for Thermal Barrier Coatings for gas turbines (including stabilised zirconia compositions).

• Low pressure, enhanced-plasma diffusion treatments for materials such as stainless steel.

• Nanostructured (particularly nanocomposite) and “glassy” metallic and ceramic films, for combined wear/corrosion resistance and for protection of low-modulus substrate materials.

• Novel pulsed-plasma CVD and PIAD coatings for polymeric and metallic substrates.

• Plasma Electrolytic deposition processes (and process diagnostics)- for use on medical     devices and lightweight automotive and aerospace components.

• Mechanical properties approaches to wear prevention.

• Development of innovative tribological test equipment (e. g. for impact, galling and scratch adhesion testing)

• Methodologies for coating selection, including using Expert Systems.

My group


Allan Matthews is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is Professor of Surface Engineering and Tribology in the Department of Materials and Director of the EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing. Until June 2020, he served a 4 year term as Director of the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (ICAM). He spent his early career in the UK aerospace industry with Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, then British Aerospace Dynamics Group, before returning to academia and completing a PhD at the University of Salford in advanced plasma-based coating processes for the deposition of ceramic coatings for industrial applications. He then moved to the University of Hull, where he was a founding member of the team that established a new Department of Engineering Design and Manufacture. He was a pioneer in the field of surface engineering and in early 1982 he instigated the first Surface Engineering Laboratory, which became The Research Centre in Surface Engineering (RCSE), of which he is the founder and principal Director. The RCSE's researchers continue to achieve ground breaking results in surface engineering and to actively connect academia and industry. During his tenure at the University of Sheffield, he served as Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2007 to 2011. He has published around 400 journal papers as well as several books and chapters. He has held leadership roles in many professional and learned societies, including the Executive Committee of the Advanced Surface Engineering Division of the American Vacuum Society (AVS), as well as the Board of the Society of Vacuum Coaters. Prior to this, he was a British Vacuum Council Member and Officer. Between 2014 and 2019 he sat on the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network. On the KTN Special Interest Group in Surface Engineering and Advanced Coatings, he represented academic standing and helped guide industrial research strategy in the coating sector. He has received a number of awards, including the IoM3 Gold Medal in 2011 and the AVS RF Bunshah Award in 2018. He received the 2020 Leading Scientist Award from the European Society for Thin Films (EFDS). He is Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal Surface and Coatings Technology.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Advanced materials
  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


  • Tribology
  • Surface Engineering


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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