Michael Preuss


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Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor Michael Preuss joined Monash University in August 2020 coming from the University of Manchester, UK, where he continues to have a 20% position.  Michael was educated in Germany where he obtained his first degree from the Technical University Berlin and his PhD from the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg.  He joined Manchester at the end of 1999 and was offered a lectureship position in 2003 to become part of the newly formed Materials Performance Centre (MPC). In 2010, Michael became deputy director of the Rolls-Royce Nuclear University Technology Centre and was promoted to a chair position. In the following year, Michael was awarded a highly prestigious EPSRC Leadership Fellowship and was also appointed deputy director of the MPC. In 2016, Michael became champion of the Material Systems for Demanding Environment theme within the Sir Henry Royce Institute, a new UK national institute for materials research and innovation and in 2019 he became director of MIDAS, a new EPSRC programme grant focusing on fuel cladding research. 

Michael has been highly active in utilising large-scale research facilities for materials engineering applications and has served on access panels and scientific advisory committees of various neutron scattering facilities such as the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL, France) and the ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (UK). Since 2016, Michael chairs the scientific advisory committee of the European Spallation Source, currently under construction in Lund, Sweden. 

In 2013, Michael was awarded the Grunfeld Memorial Medal by the UK Institute of Metals, Mineral and Mining (IOM3) and in 2016 he was elected Fellow of Materials, Minerals and Mining. Michael was also awarded the ASTM Kroll medal for his lifetime achievement in zirconium research. 

Research interests

Professor Michael Preuss has a keen interest in understanding the relationship between manufacturing and processing of structural materials and their performance. His research focuses particularly on materials intended for high temperature applications such as titanium and zirconium alloys, nickel-base superalloys and certain types of steels. While we have been using these types of materials for many decades, we are still not able to predict their performance in any other way than recording plenty of test data and utilise those for curve fitting to estimate long-term performance. Such approach results in great uncertainty as small variations in the way a material has been produced can have significant effects on its performance. Hence, lifing of safety critical components requires very large safety margins, which reduces the efficiency of the systems we use. For example, some aeroengine components could be significantly lighter without changing the material if we had a more physically based understanding of the relationship between processing and performance. 

This type of research is inherently complex and interdisciplinary in nature and requires a team of academics working together. Michael particularly focuses on using advanced analytical tools and in-situ characterisation techniques to monitor the evolution of microstructure, strains and stresses during processing and simulated service conditions. This includes a wide range of microscopy techniques, often combined with digital image analysis and correlation tools, diffraction techniques using conventional lab x-ray sources but also synchrotron x-ray and neutron scattering facilities and 3D x-ray tomography. Through collaboration with other academics the experimental portfolio is expanded and combined with modelling activities in order to identify mechanisms of microstructure evolutions during processing or mechanisms of material degradation. 

One of the main drivers for the research described here is the need for cleaner power generation and transport methods. Metallurgy is a very mature research area and therefore the output can be complex and intellectually challenging.  However, the relevance of such research will never go away though it is important that the generated knowledge is transferred to industry. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

External positions

Professor of Metallurgy, University of Manchester

Research area keywords

  • Metallurgy
  • Titanium
  • Zirconium
  • Nickel-base Superalloys
  • Microstructure Development
  • Microstructural Characterisation
  • Residual Stress Characterisation
  • In-situ Characterisation
  • Plasticity
  • Mechanical Performance
  • Corrosion Performance
  • Materials Performance
  • Materials Processing
  • X-Ray CT Imaging
  • x-ray diffraction
  • Synchrotron Imaging
  • Neutron diffraction
  • Material Degradation
  • Irradiation Damage

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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