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Rolls-Royce UTC

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Studying at Cambridge


Alexander (Sandy) John Knowles

Alexander (Sandy) John Knowles

PhD student

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 334434


2011-present: University of Cambridge, PhD in Materials Science, "Novel Refractory Metal Based High Temperature Alloys"

2007-2011: University of Oxford, MEng in Materials Science

Research Interests

Novel Alloys For High Temperature Service

Sandy's current work looks at the development of novel refractory metal based alloys for high temperature applications. Unusual alloy compositions are selected in order to generate microstructures capable of generating good elevated temperature mechanical properties whilst whilst also considering environmental protection. The alloys produced are targeted for high temperature applications, particularly for gas turbine engines, whilst also increasing the understanding of unusual systems with wider applications.


Particulate Reinforced Metal Matrix Composites

Previously, during his MEng final year research project, Sandy worked on powder processed aluminium metal matrix composites with ceramic nano-particle reinforcements.


  • TEM
  • alloy design
  • diffraction
  • STEM
  • thermodynamics
  • novel alloy development
  • intermetallics
  • titanium aluminides
  • turbine blades
  • metal matrix composites

Key Publications

Microstructure and mechanical properties of 6061 Al alloy based composites with SiC nanoparticles, A. J. Knowles, X. Jiang, M. Galano, F. Audebert, Journal of Alloys and Compounds615 S1 (2014), S401–S405

RSS Feed Latest news

Dr. Lewis Owen appointed to a Junior Research Fellowship at Gonville & Caius College Cambridge

Jan 24, 2018

Dr. Lewis Owen has been appointed to a Junior Research Fellowship commencing in October 2018 at Gonville & Caius College Cambridge. We look forward to many more years of high quality research into the wonderful world of short range order.

Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology Visit

Jan 17, 2018

We had a fantastic time today hosting the uber-talented students from the Cambridge Academy for Science and Technology. We believe sharing some of our research and encouraging as many people as possible to consider STEM careers is a key responsibility for any scientist/engineer.

PhD studentships now available within the group

Jan 09, 2018

Navigate onto our vacancies page to find out more!

Strategic Partnership with Rolls-Royce shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award 2017

Oct 03, 2017

The Rolls-Royce partnership with the universities of Cambridge, Swansea and Birmingham has been shortlisted for a Times Higher Education Award 2017. Find out more here:

New high temperature thermocouple

Nov 14, 2016

Dr. Michele Scervini has developed a new thermocouple for high-temperature applications