Materials & Engineering Research Institute

A SHU institute dedicated to solving industrial problems through science and engineering.



Sheffield Hallam University's Materials & Engineering Research Institute (MERI) is an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to addressing industrial problems through the application of science and engineering technologies. It incorporates facilities and expertise from across the University's entire technical spectrum, embracing materials, computing, science and engineering disciplines.
Research centres and groups within MERI include:
  • Centre for Automation and Robotics Research
  • Materials Analysis and Research Services
  • Polymers, Nanocomposites and Modelling Research Centre
  • Structural Materials and Integrity Research Centre
  • Thin Films Research Centre
Research within MERI covers an extensive range of topics:  from semiconductors to concrete and from theoretical modelling to industrial applied coatings.
The majority of the Institute's activities are focused on real commercial needs and many activities are sponsored by businesses. This includes sponsorship from a range of industries such as the petrochemical, pharmaceutical, electronics, aerospace, automotive, and biomedical sectors.
An important service used by many businesses is that of Materials Analysis, and each year many organisations from a wide range of sectors send in samples to be analysed at the MERI laboratories. Most of the samples will be metals, polymers, ceramics, glass, paint or liquids.
Analysis of Metals: includes chemical composition, microstructure (including metallurgical defects), hardness, wear resistance, profile and surface roughness, paint condition, and other surface finishes.
Chemical composition: this is crucial to a metallic alloy's performance in terms of strength, hardness and corrosion resistance. Analytical techniques employed include spark emission, X-ray fluorescence, and dissolution followed by chromatography and scanning electron microscopy.
Microstructure: another key factor in a metal's performance, particularly in steels and aluminium alloys. Assessment techniques include X-ray diffraction, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.
Whilst many of MERI's business clients benefit from small development projects, materials analysis or failure analysis services, other industrial partners participate in more significant knowledge exchange programs. The Institute is a leading UK contributor in  knowledge transfer partnership programmes which support companies in developing new technologies and recruiting new staff.
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