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Rolls-Royce UTC

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Studying at Cambridge


James Moffat

James Moffat

PhD Student

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 331950


2012-2016: MChem Chemistry with Nanotechnology, University of Liverpool

2016-Present: PhD Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge

Research Interests

Cobalt-based superalloys find use in a wide range of structural applications, from high temperature gas turbine engine components to hard-wearing corrosion-resistant surfaces. Exposure to inimical environments inevitably leads to the degradation of the mechanical properties and oxidation resistance of the material over time. Critically, the lifetime of the superalloy components are limited by the microstructural characteristics. Therefore, to construct effective methodologies to improve the performance of alloys, it is essential to understand how the microstructure relates to the macroscopic behaviour we observe in the application environment.

My research focuses on carbide reinforced cobalt-based superalloys, with particular emphasis on the changes to the microstructure under extreme environments. My PhD study breaks down into several categories of work:

1. Solidification characterisation and interdendritic carbide network formation

2. Microstructural evolution at elevated temperatures

3. Mechanistic descriptions of oxidation and corrosion at elevated temperatures

4. Refractory metal carbide-containing Co-based superalloy microstructures

5. Alloy development and microstructure enhancements

6. Ultramicroscopy analysis of trace element-contaminated grain boundaries


  • SIMS
  • Heat Treatments
  • Corrosion
  • Trace and Tramp Elements
  • High-temperature
  • Microstructure
  • Characterisation
  • XRD
  • Electron Microscopy (SEM, Cs-corrected TEM/STEM, FIB)
  • Contamination
  • Thermo-Calc
  • EPMA
  • XCT
  • Cobalt-base Superalloys
  • TEM
  • Mechanical Testing
  • Alloy Development


Key Publications

  1. Moffat, J.P.; Whitfield, T.E.; Christofidou, K.A.; Pickering, E.J.; Jones, N.G.; Stone, H.J. The Effect of Heat Treatment on the Oxidation Resistance of Cobalt-Based Superalloys. Metals 2020, 10, 248.

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