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Rolls-Royce UTC

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Studying at Cambridge


Robbie James Bennett

Robbie James Bennett

Research Associate

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 331950


(2007-2011) MSci in Physics at University of Bristol. 1st Class Honours.

(2010-2011) Undergraduate Masters project: 'Failure Evaluation of Intermediate stage Turbine blades.'

(2011-Present) PhD in Thermal Barrier Coatings within Rolls Royce UTC, Materials dept. University of Cambridge.

(May-September 2013) Research Fellowship at National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS), Japan.

(June 2015) Royal Society Summer Exhibition entitled "Engineering Atoms".

Research Interests

My research involves advanced characterisation of the effects of thermal exposure on the behaviour of different thermal barrier coating (TBC) systems, currently used in industry. I have experience in the following experimental techniques:

Transmission Electron Microscopy (both TEM and STEM-EDS):- for measuring orientation relationships between coating and thermally grown oxide phases, and finding rutile particles within the Alumina scales. 

Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy  (EPMA):- for investigation diffusion of both major and minor alloying elements between coating and substrates for different systems, as well as elemental mapping. 

Laser ablation mass-spectrometry (LA-ICPMS):- for measuring the distribution of trace elements and their associated phases within coatings.

Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy (GD-OES):- Similar to quantitative WDS but over a much larger area of the sample. 

X-ray Diffraction (grazing angle):- Observing Coating and Oxide Phase changes over time.

Raman & Photo-Stimulated Luminescence Spectroscopy:- Used as a non-destructive technique for measuring residual oxide stresses, as well as oxide phase identification. 

I have also used the following modelling techniques, to better understand some of the mechanical and diffusive behaviour of TBC systems:

DFT (CASTEP):- for calculating Migration energies for diffusive species, defect formation and clustering energies, as well as interface calculations for metal/oxide interfaces. 

Finite Element Modelling (Abaqus and Matlab):- Modelling the stress effects of TiO2 inclusions in an alumina matrix within a coating system. 



  • environmental degradation
  • thermal barrier coatings
  • TEM
  • turbine blades
  • stress analysis
  • STEM
  • shrouds
  • finite element analysis
  • coatings
  • EBSD
  • nickel-based superalloys
  • Digital Image Correlation
  • ceramics


Key Publications

On the Oxidation Behaviour of Titanium within Coated Nickel-Based Su- peralloys, Acta Materialia 2015 Vol. 92 pp. 278-289. 

Other Publications

Effect of Thermal Exposure on Degradation of Compressor Blades in Aero- Jet Engines, Corrosion Engineering, Science and Technology 2015 Vol. 50(4) pp. 283-291.

Alloys based on Cr-Cr2Ta containing Si, Intermetallics 2014 Vol. 48 pp. 62-70.     

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New high temperature thermocouple

Nov 14, 2016

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

MS&T Literature Review Prize

Jun 15, 2016

Alison Wilson voted runner up in this year's competition