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Thomas Marrow

Professor James Marrow
James Martin Professor of Energy Materials

Mansfield College

Oxford Martin School


Tel: 07540 722660 (mobile)
Tel: +44 1865 273938 (Room 110.10.18)
Tel: +44 1865 273777 (reception)
Fax: +44 1865 273789 (general fax)

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Summary of Interests

My research is focussed on the degradation of structural materials and the role of microstructure.  A key aspect is the investigation of fundamental mechanisms of damage accumulation using novel materials characterisation techniques. This has concentrated recently on computed X-ray tomography and strain mapping by digital image correlation, which I apply to studies of the degradation of Generation IV nuclear materials such as graphite and silicon carbide composites.

The next generation of nuclear power systems must be demonstrably safer, proliferation resistant and efficient. They will not provide power for some decades to come. Their development requires new high temperature fuels and structural materials with resistance to irradiation. This can only be achieved through fundamental understanding of materials microstructure and the mechanisms of materials ageing.

Research in engineering materials for energy generation is not a quick-fix topic. New materials take from 15-20 years to come into service, and then are expected to be in service for 40-80 years. The key physical mechanisms that determine manufactured performance, and how these properties age in service, are not very well understood, and mistakes in materials selection can have enormous financial and social implications.

Prediction is a major challenge, and deep understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of materials aging is essential to identify and avoid potential "cliff-edges" in future materials performance.

We use synchrotron tomographt and also laboratory tomography in our work.  You can follow some of the images we obtain on our laboratrory tomography instrument here

Current Research Projects

Advanced 2D and 3D Digital Image Correlation the Full Field Displacements of Cracks and Defects
Selim Barhli, Prof. James Marrow, Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi (Bristol), Dr Dave Hollis (LaVision)
The aim of the project is to develop improved digital image and volume correlation algorithms for the detection and quantitative analysis of crack-like defects in engineering materials under complex modes of loading.  The objectives are to; develop and evaluate methods for the detection of crack-like discontinuities by digital image correlation, using synthetic data for 2D displacement fields generated by finite element models or analytical solutions and applied to artificial speckle pattern images; investigate the effects of image quality (i.e. noise) on crack detection in synthetic data, applying methods such as pattern-recognition and image-filtering; develop and evaluate methods to optimise the measurement of the displacement fields associated with longer cracks under different states of stress, using masking and iterative approaches based on the measured strain gradients in synthetic data; extend the developed two-dimensional methods to three-dimensional synthetic data and apply the developed algorithms and methods to the experimental characterisation of damage in brittle, quasi-brittle and ductile materials.  This will include model brittle materials, optimised for DIC and DVC, and real engineering materials such as concretes, ceramic-matrix composites and structural metals under different states of loading.  Existing data are being used, together with new data obtained in this project. The project is supported by and in collaboration with LaVision Ltd.

Stress concentration behaviour in radiolytic-oxidised graphite
Matthew Jordan, Prof. James Marrow, Prof. David Nowell
This industrial CASE EPSRC studentship PhD project, supported by EDF Energy, aims to understand the effects of stress concentrations, such as keyway roots, on the fracture strength of radiolytic-oxidised nuclear graphite components.  Its objective is a notch-sensitivity strength test, using a sharp corner, which could be used on specimens of radiolyically-oxidised graphite, machined from the small samples extracted from reactor cores. A modelling framework for component and specimen strength will be developed, calibrated by small specimen tests, such as those used to monitor graphite material properties.  It is supported by a program of tests to investigate the effects of specimen size on notch sensitivity, in particular the validity of data obtained from tests on small, notched specimens, in a range of quasi-brittle model materials.  Particular use is made of computed synchrotron X-ray tomography and digital volume correlation to measure the deformation at the notch tip.

Three-dimensional characterization and multi-scale modelling of damage in natural biomaterials
Liye Yan, Prof. James Marrow
Benefiting from complicated morphological geometries and hierarchal microstructures, biomaterials such as shell, bone and enamel present a good combination of stiffness, strength and toughness, which are unmatched by their engineering counterparts such as nacre-like laminated composites. As a consequence, biomaterials’ mechanical behaviours, especially their resistance to crack initiation and propagation under bending or compression, have been extensively studied for a wide range of applications in biological, medical and engineering fields. Furthermore, factors that influence these mechanical properties have also been studied to improve the design of new biomimetic materials.  In this project, mechanical testing will be done to obtain the basic mechanical properties of biomaterials. In particular, in-situ mechanical testing will be conducted during high resolution X-ray tomography. The reconstructed images will be analysed using digital volume correlation to obtain the full displacement field. Image-based finite element models will be solved for the prediction of mechanical response of biomaterials under loading and the input parameters will be tuned to match the experimental results. By studying the materials under different states of loading, the mechanical properties of the materials will be obtained. The scientific aspects of the project lie on: 1) Use different image-modelling techniques to build a finite element model to achieve more reliable and accurate prediction of damage developed in biomaterials under bending and compression in order to design biomimetic engineering materials, which are stiff but damage tolerant, and biocompatible materials, which are used in clinic field. 2) Image-based modelling techniques allow the incorporation of hierarchical structures of biomaterials into models, which facilitates the investigation of structure-related issues including the structural changes of microstructures in response to different temperatures and environmental changes.

3D multi-scale characterization and modelling of damage in ceramic matrix composites
Shixiang Zhao, Prof. James Marrow
SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composites are a promising materials for high temperature structural components in the nuclear power generation, such as accident tolerant fuel cladding. Such components must safely operate in a severe environment.  Nuclear grade SiC/SiC composites are therefore optimized for strength and damage tolerance, and have a relatively complex microstructure.  In order to understand of the fracture behaviour of such microstructures, particularly in after exposure to harsh environments, different modes of loading are applied to small test specimens.  Materials models are required to interpret these tests and to optimise component and microstructure design. This project is using high resolution X-ray tomography and the digital volume correlation to study crack development in situ, which enables 3D insight into the mechanical behaviour. The experimental data will further support the development of the materials-based modelling for the structural design, such as the FEMME model. This multi-scale model takes into account the detailed microstructure and is able to simulate the complex fracture behaviour.  This project is linked to the European 7th Framework programme MatISSE (Materials' Innovations for Safe and Sustainable nuclear) (

An innovative, multi-scale, real-time approach to the understanding of deformation and fracture in irradiated nuclear reactor core graphites
Dr Dong Liu (EPSRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow), hosted by Professor James Marrow
The primary material of interest for this project is nuclear graphite. Nuclear graphite current serves as a neutron moderator and structural core component in the 14 operation UK Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors, and it is also a candidate material for future reactor designs such as Very High Temperature Reactors worldwide. In the irradiating and high temperature environment, nuclear graphite degrades in its microstructure, physical and mechanical properties. This project makes use of a range of cutting-edge techniques to investigate the deformation and fracture of nuclear graphites in the extreme environments. These are challenging experiments that require access to national and international large facilities (ENGIN-X, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; ALS, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory). In general, micro-mechanical testing on micro-metre miniature specimens prepared by focussed ion beam milling, high temperature in situ neutron diffraction combined with high temperature digital image correlation, high temperature in situ x-ray computed tomography with digital volume correlation, high temperature in situ Raman spectroscopy, and in situ electro-thermal mechanical testing combined with infrared imaging/pyrometry are adopted to characterise the deformation and fracture over multiple length-scales from nano-metre (lattice) up to centimetre range. These outcome will feed into microstructure-based computer models to forward predict the bulk behaviour and integrity of graphite components subjected to longer service. In addition to nuclear graphite, this project studies a range of other nuclear and energy materials such as MAX phase ceramics with combined properties from ceramics and metals at high temperature for the application of neutron resistant components and porous nanomaterial-based catalysts in solid oxide fuel cells, porous ceramic thermal barrier coatings for the application of turbine blades, SiC composites for high temperature nuclear applications, and the mechanical integrity of GaN-diamond based electronic devices.

Short Crack Propagation in an Anisotropic Polycrystalline Metal
Phil Earp, Prof. James Marrow, Prof. Alan Cocks
This project aims to investigate the criteria for crack formation in polycrystalline 𝛼-uranium.  It is thought that the interaction between microstructural features such as twins and grain boundaries cause stress concentrations that lead to fracture initiation.  Experimental work will involve characterising the strain fields in the material as it deforms, locating the regions of high stress, and characterising the form of this stress concentration and how the material accommodates it.  3-dimensional characterisation of the uranium microstructure will be achieved using serial-sectioning Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD). The criteria for crack initiation and propagation will be investigated in tensile test experiments. Two-camera Digital Image Correlation (DIC) will be used to characterise the deformation of the material and identify areas of strain localisation. High-Resolution EBSD will be used to investigate the local strain field around features of interest such as slip bands or twins where they are blocked by a grain boundary. Along with measurements of grain orientations, this will be used to assess the strength of grain boundaries and the criteria for grain boundary failure.  The objective is to relate the observed microstructural features to the sites of fracture initiation, to be able to identify microstructures that may be more susceptible to failure.

6 public active projects

Research Publications

James Marrow's citations



Summary of publications on ORCID

Mostafavi, M., Bradley, R., Armstrong, D.E.J., and Marrow, T.J. (2016) Quantifying yield behaviour in metals by X-ray nanotomography. Sci. Rep., 6, 34346. doi:10.1038/srep34346

Saucedo-Mora, L., Lowe, T., Zhao, S., Lee, P.D., Mummery, P., Marrow, T.J., (2016) In situ observation of mechanical damage within a SiC-SiC ceramic matrix composite. J. Nucl. Mater., 481, 13–23. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2016.09.007

Vertyagina, Y., and Marrow, T.J. (2016) Multifractal-based assessment of Gilsocarbon graphite microstructures. Carbon N. Y., 109, 711–718. doi:10.1016/j.carbon.2016.08.049

L. Saucedo-Mora and T. J. Marrow, Multi-scale damage modelling in a ceramic matrix composite using a finite-element microstructure meshfree methodology, Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London A Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 374, (2016). doi: 10.1098/rsta.2015.0276

S. Rahimi, K. Mehrez, and T. J. Marrow, Effect of surface machining on intergranular stress corrosion cracking (IGSCC) in sensitised type 304 austenitic stainless steel,  Corros. Eng. Sci. Technol. 0, 1 (2016). doi: 10.1080/1478422X.2015.1122295

Zou C, Marrow TJ, Reinhard C, Li B, Zhang C, Wang S. Porosity characterization of fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composite using synchrotron X-ray computed tomography. Journal of Instrumentation 2016;11:C03052. doi:10.1088/1748-0221/11/03/C03052.

D. Khoshkhou, M. Mostafavi, C. Reinhard, M.P. Taylor, D.S. Rickerby, I.M. Edmonds, Evans, H.E., Marrow, T.J., Connolly, B.J., Three-dimensional displacement mapping of diffused Pt thermal barrier coatings via synchrotron X-ray computed tomography and digital volume correlation, Scr. Mater. 115 (2016) 100–103. doi:10.1016/j.scriptamat.2015.10.033.

C.N. Morrison, A.P. Jivkov, Y. Vertyagina, T.J. Marrow, Multi-scale modelling of nuclear graphite tensile strength using the site-bond lattice model, Carbon N. Y. 100 (2016) 273–282. doi:10.1016/j.carbon.2015.12.100.

Saucedo-Mora, L., Mostafavi, M., Khoshkhou, D., Reinhard, C., Atwood, R., Shuang, Z., Connolly, B., Marrow, T.J., Observation and simulation of indentation damage in a SiC–SiCfibre ceramic matrix composite. Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 110, 11–19 (2016).

Sláme?ka, K. Skalka, P., ?elko, L., Pokluda, J., Saucedo-Mora, L., Marrow, T. J., Thandavamoorthy, U. Plasma-sprayed thermal barrier coatings: Numerical study on damage localization and evolution. Frattura ed Integrita Strutturale 10, 322–329 (2016).

Cai, B., Lee, P. D., Karagadde, S., Marrow, T. J. & Connolley, T. Time-resolved synchrotron tomographic quantification of deformation during indentation of an equiaxed semi-solid granular alloy. Acta Materialia 105, 338–346 (2016).

Marrow, T. J. Liu, D. Barhli, S.M. Saucedo-Mora, L Vertyagina, Y. Collins, D.M. Reinhard, C. Kabra, S. Flewitt, P.E.J. Smith, D.J. In situ measurement of the strains within a mechanically loaded polygranular graphite. Carbon 96 (2016) 285-302 doi: 10.1016/j.carbon.2015.09.058

Liu, D., Mostafavi, M., Marrow, T. J., Smith, D. J. & Flewitt, P. E. J. Cruciform biaxial flexural testing of polygranular nuclear graphite. in 23rd Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (2015).

Jordan, M. S. L., Saucedo-Mora, L., Barhli, S. M., Nowell, D. & Marrow, T. J. Measurements of Stress Concentration Behaviour in AGR Nuclear Graphite. in 23rd Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (2015).

Marrow, T. J., Jordan, M. S. L. & Vertyagina, Y. Towards a notch-sensitivity strength test for irradiated nuclear graphite structural integrity. in The 4th EDF Energy Nuclear Graphite Symposium. Engineering Challenges Associated with the Life of Graphite Reactor Cores (Flewitt, P. E. J. & Wickham, A. J.) 247–259 (EMAS Publishing, 2014).

Vertyagina, Y. & Marrow, T. J. 3D Cellular Automata Fracture Model for Porous Graphite Microstructures. in 23rd Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology (2015).

Saucedo-Mora L, Marrow TJ. Method for the explicit insertion of microstructure in Cellular Automata Finite Element (CAFE) models based on an irregular tetrahedral Finite Element mesh: Application in a multi-scale Finite Element Microstructure MEshfree framework (FEMME). Finite Elem Anal Des 2015;105:56–62. doi:10.1016/j.finel.2015.07.001.

Cai, B., Karagadde, S., Marrow, T. J., Connolley, T. & Lee, P. D. Synchrotron X-ray Tomographic Quantification of Deformation Induced Strain Localisation in Semi-solid Al- 15wt.%Cu. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering 84, 012079 (2015). doi: 10.1088/1757-899X/84/1/012079

Saucedo-Mora L, Marrow TJ. FEMME : a multi-scale Finite Element Microstructure MEshfree fracture model for quasi-brittle materials with complex microstructures . Eng Fract Mech 2015;in press. doi:10.1016/j.engfracmech.2015.05.059.

Saucedo-Mora L, Sláme?ka K, Thandavamoorthy U, Marrow TJ. Multi-scale modeling of damage development in a thermal barrier coating. Surf Coatings Technol 2015;276:399–407. doi:10.1016/j.surfcoat.2015.06.038.

Cai, B., Karagadde, S., Rowley, D., Marrow, T. J., Connolley, T., & Lee, P. D. (2015). Time-resolved synchrotron tomographic quantification of deformation-induced flow in a semi-solid equiaxed dendritic Al–Cu alloy. Scripta Materialia, 103, 69–72. doi:10.1016/j.scriptamat.2015.03.011

Lyon, K. N., Marrow, T. J., & Lyon, S. B. (2015). Influence of milling on the development of stress corrosion cracks in austenitic stainless steel. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 218, 32–37. doi:10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2014.11.038

Mostafavi, M., Collins, D. M., Cai, B., Bradley, R., Atwood, R. C., Reinhard, C., … Marrow, T. J. (2015). Yield behavior beneath hardness indentations in ductile metals, measured by three-dimensional computed X-ray tomography and digital volume correlation. Acta Materialia, 82, 468–482. doi:10.1016/j.actamat.2014.08.046

Marrow, J., Reinhard, C., Vertyagina, Y., Saucedo-Mora, L., Collins, D., & Mostafavi, M. (2014). 3D Studies of Damage by Combined X-ray Tomography and Digital Volume Correlation. In Procedia Materials Science (Vol. 3, pp. 1554–1559). doi:10.1016/j.mspro.2014.06.251

Saucedo-Mora, L., & Marrow, T. J. (2014). 3D Cellular Automata Finite Element Method with Explicit Microstructure: Modeling Quasi-brittle Fracture using Meshfree Damage Propagation. In Procedia Materials Science (Vol. 3, pp. 1143–1148). doi:10.1016/j.mspro.2014.06.186

Cai, B., Karagadde, S., Yuan, L., Marrow, T. J., Connolley, T., & Lee, P. D. (2014). In situ synchrotron tomographic quantification of granular and intragranular deformation during semi-solid compression of an equiaxed dendritic Al–Cu alloy. Acta Materialia, 76, 371–380. doi:10.1016/j.actamat.2014.05.035

Marrow, T. J., Mostafavi, M., Hashimoto, T., & Thompson, G. E. (2014). A quantitative three-dimensional in situ study of a short fatigue crack in a magnesium alloy. International Journal of Fatigue, 66, 183–193. doi:10.1016/j.ijfatigue.2014.04.003

Stratulat, A., Duff, J., & James Marrow, T. (2014). Grain boundary structure and intergranular stress corrosion crack initiation in high temperature water of a thermally sensitised austenitic stainless steel, observed in situ. Corrosion Science, 85, 428–435. doi:10.1016/j.corsci.2014.04.050

Vertyagina, Y., Mostafavi, M., Reinhard, C., Atwood, R., & Marrow, T. J. (2014). In situ quantitative three-dimensional characterisation of sub-indentation cracking in polycrystalline alumina. Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 34(12), 3127–3232. doi:10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2014.04.002

Gonzalez, D., King, A., Mostafavi, M., Reischig, P., du Roscoat, S. R., Ludwig, W., … Marrow, T. J. (2013). Three-dimensional observation and image-based modelling of thermal strains in polycrystalline alumina. Acta Materialia, 61(20), 7521–7533. doi:

Mostafavi, M., Vertyagina, Y., Reinhard, C., Bradley, R., Jiang Xia, Galano, M. and Marrow, J., (2014), 3D studies of indentation by combined X-ray tomography and digital volume correlation, Key Engineering Materials, 592-593, 14-23,

Saucedo, L., Mostafavi, M., Khoshkhou, D., Reinhard, C., Atwood, R., Zhao, S., … Marrow, T. J. (2013). 3D cellular automata finite element (CAFE) modelling and experimental observation of damage in quasi-brittle nuclear materials: Indentation of a SiC-SiCfibre ceramic matrix composite. In SMINS-3. Idaho Falls, USA: OECD-NEA.

Mostafavi, M., Baimpas, N., Tarleton, E., Atwood, R. C., McDonald, S. A., Korsunsky, A. M., & Marrow, T. J. (2013). Three dimensional crack observation, quantification and simulation in a quasi-brittle material. Acta Materialia, 61(16), 6276–6289. doi:

BAIMPAS, N., XIE, M., SONG, X., HOFMANN, F., ABBEY, B., MARROW, J., … KORSUNSKY, A. M. (2013). RICH TOMOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES FOR THE ANALYSIS OF MICROSTRUCTURE AND DEFORMATION. International Journal of Computational Methods, (2), 1343006. doi:10.1142/S0219876213430068

 Yang, Z., Ren, W., Mostafavi, M., Mcdonald, S. A., & Marrow, T. J. (2013). Characterisation of 3d fracture evolution in concrete using in-situ X-ray computed tomography testing and digital volume correlation. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Fracture Mechanics of Concrete and Concrete Structures, FraMCoS 2013 (pp. 236–242). 

Mostafavi, M., McDonald, S.A., Çetinel, H., Mummery, P.M., Marrow, T.J.Flexural strength and defect behaviour of polygranular graphite under different states of stress, (2013) Carbon, 59, pp. 325-336. 10.1016/j.carbon.2013.03.025

Marrow T.J. and Tomkins B., The role of UK structural integrity research in the European fast neutron reactor programme, TAGSI/FESI Symposium: Structural Integrity of Nuclear Power Plant - learning from history and looking to the future, TWI Abingdon, April 2013

Lasithiotakis, M., Marsden, B. J., & Marrow, T. J. (2013). Annealing of ion irradiation damage in nuclear graphite. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 434(1-3), 334–346. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2012.12.001

Mostafavi, M., McDonald, S. A., Mummery, P. M., & Marrow, T. J. Observation and quantification of three-dimensional crack propagation in poly-granular graphite. Engineering Fracture Mechanics, (2013). doi:10.1016/j.engfracmech.2012.11.023

Aswad, M. A., & Marrow, T. J. (2012). Intergranular crack nuclei in polycrystalline alumina. Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 95, 29–36. doi:10.1016/j.engfracmech.2012.08.005

Becker, T. H., Mostafavi, M., Tait, R. B., & Marrow, T. J. (2012). An approach to calculate the J-integral by digital image correlation displacement field measurement. Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures,  35 ( 10 ) pp. 971 - 984 

Duff, J. A., & Marrow, T. J. (2012). In situ observation of short fatigue crack propagation in oxygenated water at elevated temperature and pressure. Corrosion Science, 68(3), 34–43. doi:10.1016/j.corsci.2012.10.030

Kovac, J. ., Marrow, T. J. ., Govekar, E. ., & Legat, A. . (2012). Detection and characterisation of intergranular stress-corrosion cracking on austenitic stainless steel. Materials and Corrosion, 63(8), 664–673. 

Marrow, T. J., Mostafavi, M., Macdonald, S., & Mummery, P. M. (2012). Observation and quantification of three-dimensional crack propagation in poly-granular graphite. 19th European Conference on Fracture, ECF19. Kazan, Russia.

Mostafavi, M. ., Schmidt, M. J. J. ., Marsden, B. J. ., & Marrow, T. J. . (2012). Fracture behaviour of an anisotropic polygranular graphite (PGA). Materials Science and Engineering A, 558, 265–277. 

S Rahimi, T J Marrow (2012) Effects of orientation, stress and exposure time on short intergranular stress corrosion crack behaviour in sensitised type 304 austenitic stainless steel, 359-373. In Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures 35 (4).

M Mostafavi, T J Marrow (2012) Quantitative in situ study of short crack propagation in polygranular graphite by digital image correlation, 695-707. In Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures 35 (8).

M Herbig, A King, P Reischig et al. (2011) 3-D growth of a short fatigue crack within a polycrystalline microstructure studied using combined diffraction and phase-contrast X-ray tomography, 590-601. In Acta Materialia 59 (2).

L Babout, M Janaszewski, T J Marrow et al. (2011) A method for the 3-D quantification of bridging ligaments during crack propagation, 131-134. In Scripta Materialia 65 (2).

S Rahimi, D L Engelberg, T J Marrow (2011) A new approach for DL-EPR testing of thermo-mechanically processed austenitic stainless steel, 4213-4222. In Corrosion Science 53 (12).

T H Becker, T J Marrow, R B Tait (2011) An Evaluation of the Double Torsion Technique, 1511-1526. In Experimental Mechanics 51 (9).

T H Becker, T J Marrow, R B Tait (2011) Damage, crack growth and fracture characteristics of nuclear grade graphite using the Double Torsion technique, 32-43. In Journal of Nuclear Materials 414 (1).

A King, W Ludwig, D Engelberg et al. (2011) Diffraction contrast tomography for the study of polycrystalline stainless steel microstructures and stress corrosion cracking, 47-50. In Revue de Metallurgie. Cahiers D'Informations Techniques 108 (1).

M Mostafavi, T J Marrow (2011) In situ observation of crack nuclei in poly-granular graphite under ring-on-ring equi-biaxial and flexural loading, 1756-1770. In Engineering Fracture Mechanics 78 (8).

A King, W Ludwig, M Herbig et al. (2011) Three-dimensional in situ observations of short fatigue crack growth in magnesium, 6761-6771. In Acta Materialia 59 (17).

W. Ludwig, A. King, M. Herbig, P. Reischig, L. Babout, H. Proudhon, E.M. Lauridsen, Marrow, T J La microstructure 3D des materiaux polycristallins vue sous la lumiere synchrotron. L’Actualit ?e Chimique 62–67 (2011).

T.H. Becker, M. Mostafavi, R.B. Tait, T.J. Marrow, An Approach to Calculate the J-Integral by Digital Image Correlation Displacement Field Measurement, Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, accepted for publication 2012

M. Lasithiotakis, B.J. Marsden, T.J. Marrow, Application of an independent parallel reactions model on the annealing kinetics of BEPO irradiated graphite, J. Nuclear Materials, Volume 427, Issues 1–3, August 2012, Pages 95–109

Babout, L. ; Janaszewski, M. ; Bakavos, D. ; McDonald, S.A. ; Prangnell, P.B. ; Marrow, T.J. ; Withers, P.J.3D inspection of fabrication and degradation processes from X-ray (micro) tomography images using a hole closing algorithm, Imaging Systems and Techniques (IST), 2010 IEEE International Conference on 1-2 July 2010

M Mostafavi and TJ Marrow, Quantitative in situ study of short crack propagation in polygranular graphite by digital image correlation, Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures (2012) DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-2695.2012.01648.x, In press.

M Herbig, J Marrow, J-Y Buffiere, A King, W Ludwig, H Proudhon, P Reischig, N Stevens, A Khan, E Lauridsen, A new dimension in short fatigue crack characterisation, ESRF Highlights 2011, Structure of Materials, pp 31-32 

M. Mostafavi and T.J. Marrow, In situ observation of crack nuclei in poly-granular graphite under ring-on-ring equi-biaxial and flexural loading, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Volume 78, Issue 8, May 2011, Pages 1756-1770

S. Al Shahrani, T. J, Marrow, Influence of Twins on Short Fatigue Cracks in Type 316L Stainless Steel, Key Engineering Materials (2011), 465, 507

Herbig, M , King, A., Reischig, P, Proudhon, H., Lauridsen, E.M, Marrow, J, Buffiere, J.-Y., Ludwig, W., 3-D growth of a short fatigue crack within a polycrystalline microstructure studied using combined diffraction and phase-contrast X-ray tomography, Acta Materialia Volume 59, Issue 2, January 2011, Pages 590-601 

King, A., Ludwig, W., Engelberg, D., Marrow, T.J., Diffraction contrast tomography for the study of polycrystalline stainless steel microstructures and stress corrosion cracking, Revue de Metallurgie. Cahiers D'Informations Techniques, Volume 108, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 47-50 

King, A., Ludwig, W., Herbig, M., Buffiere, J.-Y., Khan, A.A., Stevens, N., Marrow, T.J. Three-dimensional in situ observations of short fatigue crack growth in magnesium, Acta Materialia, Volume 59, Issue 17, October 2011, Pages 6761-6771 

S. Rahimi and T. J. Marrow, Effects of orientation, stress and exposure time on short intergranular stress corrosion crack behaviour in sensitised type 304 austenitic stainless steel, Fatigue Fract Engng Mater Struct, 2012, 35,359–373

S. Rahimi, D.L. Engelberg, T.J. Marrow, A New Approach for DL-EPR Testing of Thermo-Mechanically Processed Austenitic Stainless Steel, Corrosion Science, Volume 53, Issue 12, December 2011, Pages 4213-4222

T.H. Becker, T.J. Marrow, R.B. Tait, An Evaluation of the Double Torsion Technique, Experimental Mechanics, DOI 10.1007/s11340-011-9468-1, Experimental Mechanics, 51 (9) pp. 1511-1526.

A. Hodgkins, T. J. Marrow, M. R. Wootton, R. Moskovic and P. E. J. Flewitt, Fracture behaviour of radiolytically oxidised reactor core graphites: a view, Materials Science and Technology, Volume 26, Number 8, August 2010 , pp. 899-907(9)

T. Hashimoto, X. Zhou, C. Luo, K. Kawano, G.E. Thompson, A.E. Hughes, P. Skeldon, P.J. Withers, T.J. Marrow and A.H. Sherry, Nanotomography for understanding materials degradation, Scripta Materialia, Volume 63, Issue 8, October 2010, Pages 835-838

T.H. Becker, T.J. Marrow, R.B. Tait, Damage, crack growth and fracture characteristics of nuclear grade graphite using the Double Torsion technique, J Nucl. Mater, Volume 414, Issue 1, 1 July 2011, Pages 32-43

T. Hashimoto, X. Zhou, C. Luo, K. Kawano, G.E. Thompson, A.E. Hughes, P. Skeldon, P.J. Withers, T.J. Marrow and A.H. Sherry, Nanotomography for understanding materials degradation, Scripta Materialia, Volume 63, Issue 8, October 2010, Pages 835-838

J. Kovac, C. Alaux, T.J. Marrow, E. Govekar, A Legat, Correlations of electrochemical noise, acoustic emission and complementary monitoring techniques during intergranular stress-corrosion cracking of austenitic stainless steel, Corrosion Science 52 (2010) 2015–2025.

King A., Herbig M., Ludwig W., Reischig P., Lauridsen E.M., Marrow T., Buffiere J.Y. - Non-destructive analysis of micro texture and grain boundary character from X-ray diffraction contrast tomography, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 268,  291-296 (2010)

A, King, N. Schell, R.V. Martins, F. Beckmann, H-U Ruhnau, R, Kiehn, J. Marrow, W. Ludwig, A Schreyer, Grain tracking at the high energy materials science beamline of the Petra III synchrotron radiation source, Materials Science Forum, 652, (2010), pp70-73

W. Ludwig, P. Reischig, A. King, M. Herbig, E.M. Lauridsen, T.J. Marrow, J.Y. Buffière, 3D grain mapping by X-ray diffraction contrast tomography and the use of Friedel pairs in diffraction data analysis, Review of Scientific Instruments, 80, 033905 (2009)

S. Rahimi, D Engelberg and T.J. Marrow, Characterisation of Grain Boundary Cluster Compactness in an Austenitic Stainless Steel (2010), Materials Science and Technology, Volume 26, Number 6, pp. 670-675

R. Jones, V. Randle, D. Engelberg, T.J. Marrow, Five-parameter grain boundary analysis of a grain boundary-engineered austenitic stainless steel, Journal of Microscopy, Volume 233, Number 3, March 2009 , pp. 417-422(6)

A. King, M. Herbig, W. Ludwig, P. Reischig, E.M. Lauridsen, T. Marrow, J.Y. Buffière, Non-destructive analysis of micro texture and grain boundary character from X-ray diffraction contrast tomography (2009), Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 268 (2010) 291–296

W. Ludwig, A. King, P. Reischig, M. Herbig, E.M. Lauridsen, S. Schmidt, H. Proudhon, S. Forest, P. Cloetens, S. Rolland du Roscoat, J.Y. Bufï¬ï¿½ère, T. Marrow, H.F. Poulsen, New opportunities for 3D materials science of polycrystalline materials at the micrometre lengthscale by combined use of X-ray diffraction and X-ray imaging (2009), Materials Science and Engineering A, Materials Science and Engineering A 524, 69-76 (2009)

A. King, G. Johnson, D. Engelberg, W. Ludwig and J. Marrow. Observations of intergranular stress corrosion cracking in a grain-mapped polycrystal (2008) Science, 321 (5887), pp. 382-385.

L. Babout, B.J. Marsden, P.M. Mummery and T.J. Marrow.  Three-dimensional characterization and thermal property modelling of thermally oxidized nuclear graphite, (2008) Acta Materialia, 56 (16), pp. 4242-4254.

D.L. Engelberg, R.C. Newman and T.J. Marrow.  Effect of thermomechanical process history on grain boundary control in an austenitic stainless steel (2008) Scripta Materialia, 59 (5), pp. 554-557.

S. Rahimi, D.L. Engelberg, J.A. Duff and T.J. Marrow. In-situ Observation of Intergranular Crack Nucleation in a Grain Boundary Controlled Austenitic Stainless Steel, (2009) Journal of Microscopy, (233), pp. 423–431

C. Berre, S.L. Fok, P.M. Mummery, J. Ali, B.J. Marsden, T.J. Marrow, G.B. Neighbour, Failure analysis of the effects of porosity in thermally oxidised nuclear graphite using finite element modelling, (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 381, (1-2), pp 1-8.

A.N. Jones, G.N. Hall, M. Joyce, A. Hodgkins, K. Wen, T.J. Marrow, B.J. Marsden, Microstructural characterisation of nuclear grade graphite, (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 381, (1-2), pp 152-157.

L. Lin, H. Li, A.S.L. Fok, M. Joyce, J. Marrow, Characterization of heterogeneity and nonlinearity in material properties of nuclear graphite using an inverse method, (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 381, (1-2), pp 158-164.

K. Wen, J. Marrow and B. Marsden. Microcracks in nuclear graphite and highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 381, (1-2), pp 199-203.

M.R. Joyce and T.J. Marrow. Microstructural scale strain localisation in nuclear graphite (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 381, (1-2), pp 171-176.

M. Lasithiotakis, B. Marsden, J. Marrow and A. Willets.  Application of an independent parallel reactions model on the annealing kinetics to irradiated graphite waste (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 381, (1-2), pp 83-91.

C. Berre, S.L. Fok, B.J. Marsden, P.M. Mummery, T.J. Marrow and G.B. Neighbour.  Microstructural modelling of nuclear graphite using multi-phase models (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 380, (1-3), pp 46-58.

M.R. Joyce, T.J. Marrow, P. Mummery and B.J. Marsden.  Observation of microstructure deformation and damage in nuclear graphite (2008) Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 75 (12), pp. 3633-3645.

M. Kuroda and T.J. Marrow.  (2008) Modeling the effects of surface finish on fatigue limit in austenitic stainless steels, Fatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures, Vol. 31 (7), pp. 581-598.

M. Kuroda and T.J. Marrow. Preparation of fatigue specimens with controlled surface characteristics (2008) Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 203 (1-3), pp. 396-403.

D.L. Engelberg, F.J. Humphreys and T.J. Marrow. The influence of low-strain thermo-mechanical processing on grain boundary network characteristics in type 304 austenitic stainless steel (2008) Journal of Microscopy, 230 (3), pp. 435-444.

G. Johnson, A. King, M.G. Honnicke, J. Marrow and W. Ludwig. X-ray diffraction contrast tomography: A novel technique for three-dimensional grain mapping of polycrystals. II. The combined case (2008) Journal of Applied Crystallography, 41 (2), pp. 310-318.

O.M. Alyousif, D.L Engelberg and T.J. Marrow. Surface grain boundary engineering of shot-peened type 304 stainless steel (2008) Journal of Materials Science, 43 (4), pp. 1270-1277.

L. Shi, H. Li, Z. Zou, A.S.L. Fok, B.J. Marsden, A Hodgkins, P.M. Mummery and J. Marrow. Analysis of crack propagation in nuclear graphite using three-point bending of sandwiched specimens (2008) Journal of Nuclear Materials, 372 (2-3), pp. 141-151.

K.Y. Wen, T.J. Marrow and B.J Marsden. The microstructure of nuclear graphite binders (2008) Carbon, 46 (1), pp. 62-71.

A.P. Jivkov and T.J. Marrow. Rates of intergranular environment assisted cracking in three-dimensional model microstructures (2007) Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics, 48 (3), pp. 187-202.



Projects Available

***The Effect of Microstructure on Strength and Fracture Resistance of Nuclear Graphite
James Marrow, David Nowell (Engineering)

The project is concerned with the role of significant defects, such as single or collections of large pores, on sub-critical and critical crack propagation in polygranular nuclear graphite, which is used as a moderator and structural component in the UK Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors, and also in some designs of Generation IV advanced high temperature reactors.

The aim is to experimentally validate a key aspect of the microstructure modelling of short crack propagation in nuclear graphite: the role of significant defects such as single or collections of large pores.  Advantage will be taken of new facilities in Oxford (high resolution X-ray computed tomography) and methods for in situ study of three-dimensional deformation and damage (e.g. digital volume correlation).  The work will be done using non-irradiated graphite, but the methodology developed will be suitable for active studies in due course.

The project's objectives are to observe the propagation of sub-critical cracks from significant defects in virgin graphite, test developed microstructure-sensitive models of sub-critical crack propagation, simulate the effect of the effects of microstructure on the statistics of strength and fracture resistance of virgin graphite and improve the modelling of sub-critical crack propagation in reactor components.  This project is in collaboration with EDF Energy Generation.

This is a 4-year EPSRC Industrial CASE studentship in conjunction with EDF Energy Generation.  Candidates are considered in the January 2017 admissions cycle which has an application deadline of 20 January 2017.  

Subject to contract this project will be supported by a 4-year Industrial CASE studentship sponsored by the EPSRC and EDF.  This studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student who has home fee status [(this includes an EU student who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study].  The stipend will be at least £16,296 per year.  Other EU students should read the guidance at for further information about eligibility.  Students classified as overseas fee status are eligible for this funded project, but would have to provide the difference between home/EU and overseas student fees from some other source such as a scholarship or personal funds.  For students who commence their studies in October 2017 this difference is expected to be in the region of £48,000 over three years.  Please see for a statement of the actual fees.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Professor James Marrow (  General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e mail to  You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies.  Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at

Also see homepages: James Marrow

Three-Dimensional Deformation and Fracture Mechanics
James Marrow, David Nowell (Engineering)

The mechanical properties and fracture resistance of engineering materials are measured using standard test specimens; real cracks and engineering components are three-dimensional and more complex, so approximations and adjustments are needed to reliably assess their structural integrity.  There is also an increasing need to miniaturized test specimens, to monitor the degradation of structural material properties in fission and fusion energy generating power plants.  Material properties can be extracted from small volumes by indentation tests, but generally we have no knowledge of what actually happens under the surface, and this requires assumptions to be made.

One way to address this is to use 3D digital correlation image analysis, combined with X-ray computed tomography techniques (laboratory and synchrotron), to obtain precise, in-situ, measurements of the material displacements inside solid samples, such as deformation and cracking at indentations. (e.g. and

The aim of this project is to investigate, by experiment and finite element modelling, the propagation of three-dimensional cracks and deformation under indentations with the objective of developing novel test methods to assess strain hardening and fracture resistance.  You will use high resolution X-ray tomography and digital volume correlation to measure the displacement field under indentations, and you will also study and model the development of cracks in brittle materials.

The project is suitable for graduates with an engineering, mathematical or physics background.

Also see homepages: James Marrow

Experimentally-informed 3D modelling of damage development in interfacially-toughened composite laminates
James Marrow

Aviation and wind power rely on long fibre-reinforced polymer composites for key structural components (fuselage, wings and blades). However, these can fail by delamination (cracking between layers bonded during manufacture), and the necessary conservative design approaches add weight and cost and reduce efficiency. The project's partners at Sheffield have improved delamination resistance without a weight penalty via a novel ink-jet printing manufacturing method, but its actual mechanism is unproven.

The aim of this project is to develop and apply experimentally informed multi-scale modelling to optimise the design and manufacture of ink-jet print toughened and self-healing lightweight composites.

Oxford developed a method for damage simulation in heterogeneous materials. This multi-scale approach introduces fine scale microstructural description into larger scale structural integrity models. In situ measurements of damage development, obtained by digital volume correlation of high resolution X-ray tomographs of mechanically tested samples, can be used to tune the FEMME model [Saucedo-Mora, L., and Marrow, T.J. (2016)]. This permits damage simulation in different loading states and with alternative microstructure architectures. Modelling-led structural design and microstructure optimisation is then feasible, due to the computational efficiency of the FEMME method being 2-3 orders of magnitude greater than conventional image-based finite element simulations.

You will design and perform critical X-ray tomography experiments to observe, in situ and in 3D, the mechanism by which the inkjet printed interfaces fail and potentially self-repair. The aim is then to demonstrate FEMME model simulation of the experimentally observed fracture behaviour, and show its potential to predict the structural integrity of engineering components under different states of load.

The project is suitable for students with an engineering, physics or materials background and will involve techniques such as digital image correlation, finite element modelling and computed X-ray tomography.

Also see homepages: James Marrow

Mechanisms for the control of fatigue resistance of advanced lightweight nano-composites
James Marrow, Marina Galano, Fernando Audebert

This project is concerned with the role of microstructure in the fatigue resistance of novel high strength Light weight nanostructured alloys. A new family of rapid solidified alloys show good mechanical properties with combined high strength and low density, these alloys have the potential to be used in pistons in car engines and replace Ti-alloys in gas turbines; the consequent reduction in weight and inertial forces will reduce fuel consumption and increase power output.

Tests performed to data show these alloys have very good fatigue resistance, but there have been no fundamental studies to investigate the mechanisms for this; the hypothesis is that initiated fatigue cracks are arrested at interfaces between the matrix and reinforced zones.  If so, then the strain paths arising from process variations during forging may have a significant effect on microstructure and the local fatigue properties.  To study this, a range of microstructures of a nanostructured Al alloy obtained by different heat treatments and processing conditions  will be produced and tested to correlate fatigue crack initiation and growth with the microstructure; importantly the interactions between arrested fatigue cracks and local microstructure will be studied using advanced electron microscopy, including high resolution EBSD and TEM of FIB-milled selected regions, to develop mechanistic models for fatigue resistance.

Also see homepages: Marina Galano James Marrow

Experimental Validation of Crack Propagation Criteria under Mixed Mode Loading
James Marrow

To accurately predict crack paths in brittle materials, it is important to properly address the effect of mixed mode loading in multi-axial stress states.  Predictive models exist, and their experimental validation needs support from direct measurement the crack tip strain fields for comparison with the predicted strain fields; the latter are currently used to predict the crack path.  Discrepancies are expected due to material microstructure effects such as aggregate interlocking (from shear loading), for instance.  We have developed tools so that direct measurement of crack tip displacement fields can be used to calculate the stress intensity factor, via the J-integral.  This is done by injecting the measured displacements as boundary conditions into a Finite Element mesh; the displacement field is obtained by digital image correlation.

This project will apply these methods to examine the crack propagation criteria in brittle materials, such as the polygranular graphite used in current and next generation nuclear reactors.  The project will also investigate the relationships between the applied stress state, the local strain fields and the crack propagation path.  This experimentally-based study will support the ongoing modelling and experimental studies in industry; an EPSRC iCASE studentship with industry may be available.

The project is suitable for students with an engineering, physics or materials background and will involve techniques such as digital image correlation, finite element modelling and computed X-ray tomography.

Also see homepages: James Marrow

Operando Tomographic Characterisation of Electrochemical Energy Storage Devices
Peter Bruce, James Marrow

Electrochemical energy storage devices such as lithium ion batteries have recently facilitated a revolution in mobile electronics and communications technologies. In order to use batteries for electromobility and grid storage of renewable energy, more energy dense, safer and larger scale devices need to be developed.

During use of such electrochemical energy storage devices, the cyclic transport of ions can develop gradients of composition and stress, which may interact with each other and can create damage. This often leads to a decreased cycling efficiency, shortening the device’s lifetime. Relying solely on external analysis of the performance characteristics and post mortem destructive characterisation of the microstructure has its limitations. To add to these methods, you will design novel operando experiments (i.e. during operation) that will achieve three-dimensional observations of the microstructure within an energy storage device via both high resolution computed X-ray tomography and NMR imaging (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance). These two imaging modes provide complementary structural and chemical information with which the aim is to understand and improve present-day energy storage technology.  The project will also explore the potential to achieve a quantitative understanding of the internal strain and stress through in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and digital volume correlation analysis of the three-dimensional images.  

This project is most suited to graduates with a physics, materials science or engineering background.

Also see homepages: Peter Bruce James Marrow

Mesoscale investigations of Deformation Rate Effects in Metallic Crystals
David Armstrong and James Marrow

The objective of this project is to evaluate the response at the meso-scale (10-4m) of metallic crystals that are deformed at different strain rates that range from quasi-static to high rates (103 s-1). The evolution of the dislocation density and deformation mechanisms such as twinning will be characterised by high resolution Electron Back Scatter Diffraction (EBSD) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Three-dimensional studies will be conducted, with emphasis on the interactions of dislocations with strengthening features such as precipitates, grain boundaries and defects in the crystal structure.


The deformations will be introduced primarily by nanoindentation, and will be carried out on metals with typical face centred cubic (FCC), body centred cubic (BCC) and hexagonal close packed (HCP) crystal structures, which are representative of engineering alloys. The data obtained will be used to validate and improve models for single crystal deformation, which are required for crystal plasticity simulation of polycrystalline materials.  


The project is in collaboration with a nationally important industrial partner, and is most suited to graduates with a background in materials science, physics or engineering.

Also see homepages: James Marrow

Also see a full listing of New projects available within the Department of Materials.