21 November 2023. Brought to you by Tess Knowles.

DM Ambassador Research – Tess Knowles

Tess Knowles researches nano-ceramic composite coatings and light alloys for the automotive and aerospace applications.

Let’s find out more……

  • What is your research (and how your research is connected to other research)?

I work on making ceramic coatings using a method called plasma electrolytic oxidation, shortened to PEO.  This coating method forms barrier coatings meaning the coating blocks out external element from getting to the metal. To improve how useful the coatings can become I am working on combining them with a group of nanomaterials called MXenes which will allow the coating to be protective in more ways than just as a barrier.


  • What material(s) are involved?

This type of ceramic coating can only be used for light alloys which are alloys like titanium, aluminium and magnesium.


  • What industries / careers is it relevant to?

The main areas I have been working with are aerospace and automotive, to protect the main body of a car or plane from corrosion, but it can also be use for ceramic devices and medical applications.


  • Why it is important?

A particularly important use that I have been researching is the use of PEO for corrosion resistance in car and plane bodies.  Previously an element called chromium would have been added to the alloys used in these applications to prevent corrosion and increase the lifespan and safety of the vehicles, but due to the production process being a health risk and having lots of safety implications the use of chromium in these areas isn’t allowed and we need to find alternative methods.  PEO is one consideration which is also quite environmentally friendly.