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Advanced Materials Beacon

Research and innovation into advanced materials is a key commitment at The University of Manchester, focusing on solving some of the world's most critical problems.

Manchester is leading the world in developing new and existing materials for extreme environments.

We also lead the world in the characterisation of materials - measuring and exploring materials to help us fully understand their properties - such as graphene.

The challenges

  • Globally, corrosion costs more than $2 trillion per year (World Corrosion Organization).
  • Approximately 3.5 million people die each year due to inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene (United Nations).
  • Businesses that produce and process materials make up 15% of the UK's GDP (Policy Exchange).
  • Transport accounts for a fifth of the UK's carbon emissions (Department of Energy and Climate Change).
  • New nuclear build is valued at £60 billion in the UK (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Department of Energy and Climate Change).
  • Just 5.2% of UK energy consumption in 2013 was provided by renewable sources (Department of Energy and Climate Change).
  • Deep-sea platforms drill for oil 10km below the seabed, at temperatures of more than 200°F and under pressures of 20,000psi (BP).
  • Salt canopies above drilling sites can be taller than Mount Kilimanjaro (BP).

How are we tackling them?

  • Single-layer graphene is a million times thinner than a human hair and will revolutionise healthcare, water and consumer electronics.
  • Dalton Nuclear Institute's paper on welding for nuclear new build received more than 230 citations over a decade.
  • BP has four senior staff permanently on site at the University, giving them an immediate pipeline to our expertise.
  • We're home to the global knowledge base in 2D materials, with over 300 people working on graphene, two Nobel laureates and more than £170 million of current investment.
  • Our 3D characterisation capability is enabling us to study the properties of new protective coatings for materials such as aluminium used in planes.
  • An aero engine, developed by Rolls-Royce with the University, is 25% more fuel efficient than its closest competitor.