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Research Interests

Materials, mechanics, length-scale effects and measurement



Professor Nigel M Jennett BSc (Hons) (Physics), PhD (Physics), CSci CPhys MinstP has over 30 years' experience of fabrication and characterisation of nano-structured materials and 28 years' developing nano-mechanical test methods. He is: Professor of Materials, Mechanics and Measurement at Coventry University, Associate Editor of the science journals Philosophical Magazine (and Philos. Mag. Letters) and Nanomaterials, international chair of VAMAS Technical Working Area 22 'Mechanical properties measurement of thin films and coatings', UK technical expert on the CIPM consultative committee hardness working group (CCM-WGH), chairs the BSI indentation hardness committee, leads the UK delegation for ISO working groups drafting standards for indentation-based test methods; he was a key author of the first instrumented indentation standard ISO14577:2002 and subsequent revisions. Nigel has also served two terms (six years) on the European Commission Certification Advisory Panel for Physical and Physicochemical Properties.

Nigel studied Physics at Bristol University (Physics Laboratory prize in 1984 and 1986, and the Raychem prize in 1985). He spent six years researching magnetic multilayers (1990 PhD, 1991 Chartered Physicist), before moving to NPL (1992) to develop traceable Scanned Probe Microscopy and nano-mechanical measurements. In 1998 he created his own research group focused on surfaces, coatings and nano-mechanics and was awarded a Glazebrook Fellowship in 2003 and the NPL Rayleigh award in 2010. He was appointed visiting Professor of Engineering at Lecester University in 2012 and Professor of Materials Mechanics and Measurement at Coventry University in 2015. Nigel is an experienced leader of projects (Government, Industry and European Commission), and is a regular invited speaker at international conferences.

Vision Statement


It is fascinating that a simple change in the size (length-scale) of a material, structure or measurement strongly affects the properties achieved and measured. My early research showed how strain in sub-nano period multilayers could switch off the magnetic moment of Iron. Recently, I have been developing and using validated nano-mechanical measurements to obtain a better fundamental understanding of plastic deformation as a function of length scale, temperature and time. This has led to improved design rules for length-scale engineering of safer, stronger, lighter and even tougher materials and materials architectures. I am also developing more sustainable (low energy/waste) circular manufacturing methods based on Elelctrolytic Additive Manufacturing, capable of generating length-scale engineered architectured and/or nanocrystalline materials in bulk quantities.

My goal is to develop the ability to distinguish measurement effects from genuine material performance and generate impact by providing: Design rules for material performance enhancement through length-scale engineering; Higher resolution test methods for testing small volumes of material and for mapping surface properties; Analysis methods to derive macro property information from nano-mechanical tests; Scaleable, circular manufacturing methods for making more sustainable length-scale engineered components.


  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Materials, mechanics, length-scale effects and measurement
  • QC Physics
  • Materials, mechanics, length-scale effects and measurement


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