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Surfaces, Microstructure and Fracture Group

The SMF (Fracture) group is know known (once again) as Physics and Chemistry of Solids (PCS)

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The Physics and Chemistry of Solids (PCS)

After a few decades as the Fracture & Shock Physics research group (itself one half of the Surfaces, Microstructure & Fracture 'supergroup'), we've decided to resurrect the PCS (Physics and Chemistry of Solids) label.

Our work nowadays is wide ranging, from studying very-high-rate deformation and damage behaviour through to probing the thermomechanical properties of polymers at very low temperatures. We still do plenty of shock physics and 'breaking things for a living', but decided that the broader moniker of PCS better encapsulates the interdisciplinary scope of our expertise and experience.

Indeed our work today builds on decades of world-leading research at the Cavendish Lab, stretching back to Prof Bowden's instigation of the PCS name almost 80 years ago - so it seems only fitting to continue his legacy

Our research

Our research focuses on both fundamental and applied studies of materials over a wide range of length and time scales, from the nanoscale to the macroscale and from picoseconds fluctuations to quasi-static processes. Our areas of study can be broadly characterised as the study of dynamic material processes. Throughout, we have a strong emphasis on continuing the Cavendish tradition of developing unique experimental techniques to carry out our research.

We aim to understand a wide range of fast dynamical processes in materials at the most fundamental level accessable. We specialise in producing high quality experimental data and develop cutting-edge and innovative techniques for understanding ultra-fast phenomena, including developing optical diagnostics and using high speed photography.

We work closely with a number of industrial partners, and actively participate in a wide variety of research projects.

We are always happy to discuss possible projects and our wide range of experience allows us to offer practical advice on ways to obtain data on fast processes.  We can perform a wide range of research in-house, but can usually put you in touch with other experts if we cannot.