Bill is Head of the Department of Materials and Professor of Ceramic Engineering. He joined Imperial in January 2006. After graduating in Physical Metallurgy from Aston University he gained a DPhil from Oxford University on radiation damage in sapphire, was a post-doc at Oxford and Case Western Reserve Universities, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University, USA before becoming lecturer in ceramics at the University of Sheffield in 1989. While at Sheffield he was Manager of the Sorby Centre for Electron Microscopy and Director of the Immobilisation Science Laboratory.
Bill studies the relation between processing, properties and microstructures in a broad range of ceramics. His research interests include: radwaste and radiation damage; silicates, clays and clay-based ceramics; crystallisation and glass ceramics; electron microscopy and microstructures; structural ceramics and ceramic matrix composites; high temperature refractory composites and ceramics in environmental cleanup. He has authored three books (Ceramic Microstructures Property Control by Processing with WM Rainforth in 1994, An Introduction to Nuclear Waste Immobilisation with M Ojovan in 2005 and New Developments in Glassy Nuclear Wasteforms with M Ojovan in 2007), 7 book chapters and nearly 300 peer-reviewed papers and has successfully supervised 40 students to completion of their PhDs.
ZrB2-SiC composites are being considered for next generation space orbiter thermal protection systems for orbiters which can take off and land unaided by other systems such as piggybacking on rockets like the current space shuttles. The high-temperature properties are crucial to successful development of these materials and the interface between the SiC and ZrB2 has a key influence. In this project we are using detailed transmission electron microscopy to examine the nature of the interphases and how they control high-temperature behaviour.
Image: Interface showing no grain boundary phase