Glasgow, United Kingdom





AMRL (UK6.1)

Advanced Materials Research Laboratory

Housed in the University of Strathclyde since 2011, the Advanced Materials Research Laboratory, or AMRL, is a leading laboratory and testing centre that offers a vast array of opportunities for standout research and knowledge exchange in materials engineering and science.

With a complete set of equipment, we can provide full characterisation of material bulk or surface properties, covering physical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, topographical, compositional (elemental and molecular) and structural analyses.

We perform tests according to internationally recognised standards, such as ISO, American (ASTM) or European (EN, DIN, BS, etc.). At the same time, we are happy to work with our clients to deliver bespoke testing solutions and the possibility of reproducing operational conditions traditionally not easily accessible:

  • Mechanical properties at temperatures up to 1000°C
  • Thermal properties at temperatures up to 1600°C
  • X-ray diffraction at temperatures up to 2000°C
  • Non-destructive topographical and morphological investigations and elemental analyses of small parts (i.e. no need of materialographic preparation).

We apply a wide range of techniques to:

  • Identify the relationship between manufacturing processes and materials’ microstructure and their properties;
  • Investigate materials’ degradation behaviours;
  • Benchmark the performance of the novel material solutions against established methods.


Description of the facilities:

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

With the tungsten (W) filament SEM HITACHI S-3700N and the high resolution field emission FE-SEM HITACHI SU-6600, we can perform a variety of analyses:

  • Morphological and topographical imaging
  • Surface fractography
  • Materials microstructure
  • Grain size and texture analysis by electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD)
  • Material composition by back scattered electron (BSE) imaging
  • Elemental analysis and mapping by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS)
  • Wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS) for concentrations ≤500ppm or element overlaps (e.g. Mo/S)
  • Variable pressure mode for non-conductive specimens – i.e. no need for carbon/gold coat
  • Non-destructive analysis on small components through a large chamber (300mm x 110mm)
  • In-situ micro-mechanical uniaxial tests with a 2kN load cell and video capture
  • Environmental capability with the Cryostage and Quantomix cells, for analyses on beam sensitive materials or hydrated samples (e.g. biological materials, plants, food products, emulsions, concretes, suspensions, lubricants, etc.).


X-ray diffractometry (XRD)

With our BRUKER D8 ADVANCE we can extract structural information material and phase identification from metals and ceramics, at ambient and high temperatures (up to 2000°C). Specimens can be in bulk or powder form, thin films, corrosion products or debris. Amongst the properties we can measure: phase composition, crystal structure, lattice parameters & mismatches, spatial orientation of crystals, crystallinity, residual stress, grain texture, and layer thickness.


Glow discharge – optical emission spectrometry (GD-OES)

We use the HORIBA GD-Profiler 2™ for qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis and depth profiling (up to 150μm) of conducting and non-conducting materials.

Unlike traditional optical emission spectrometers, GD-OES sputters away material layer-by-layer and provides elemental information for very thin layers or coated components, with up to 1nm resolution.


Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry (MIP)

Our Quantachrome PoreMaster-60® uses a 60,000psia (>4100bar) pressure applied to mercury (non-reactive and non-wetting) to penetrate the open porosity in a material, to measure: porosity content, pore diameter (between >950μm to 3.6nm), pore volume, bulk and apparent density.

Thermal Properties

For thermal analysis, we rely on our complete suite of Netzsch instruments that include:

  • Simultaneous thermal analyser (STA)

The STA 449 F1 Jupiter® is a simultaneous thermal gravimetric analyser (TGA), differential thermal analyser (DTA) and differential scanning calorimeter (DSC), and is available to:

Measure the weight change (e.g. degradation or oxidation) and specific heat capacity under various atmospheres or vacuum from ambient temperature to 1600°C.

Identify phase transformations, e.g. glass transition, melting, sublimation, degree of crosslinking, degree of crystallinity.

  • Thermo-mechanical analyser (TMA) / Dilatometer (DIL)

With the DIL 402C, we measure the coefficient of thermal expansion up to 1600°C.

  • Laser flash analyser (LFA)

The LFA 427 allows measurement of thermal diffusivity and thermal conductivity of materials up to 1600°C.

  • Heat and Flow Meter (HFM)

HFM 436 Lambda measures the thermal conductivity between 0.002 and 1.0W/m·K, and at temperatures of -20°C to +80°C (with a precision of ± 0.01°C), and can operate with samples with an edge length of 305mm and a thickness from 5mm up to 100mm.

The variable load feature allows applying a load of up to 21kPa, making the technique ideal for measurements on compressible, insulating materials. The system works in compliance with the ASTM C 518, ISO 8301, DIN EN 12667, DIN EN 13163 and JIS A 1412 standards.

Mechanical Properties

The AMRL encompasses the capability to characterise the mechanical performance of a wide range of materials and components, meeting a broad range of international standards. This capability is primarily built around a combination of modern Instron load frames with a variety of loading capacities and accessories:

  • Two 8800 servo-hydraulic systems (dynamic loading capacity up to ±250kN)
  • Electropuls E3000 system (dynamic loading capacity up to ±3000N)
  • Electromechanical 5969 system (loading capacity up to 50kN)
  • Environmental chamber for testing from -150°C to +350°C
  • Furnace for testing at up to 1000°C
  • Video extensometer for contactless measurements

With the above set of instruments we can measure mechanical properties such as tension/compression, axial fatigue, 3- or 4-point bending, shear, creep and fracture toughness.

Additionally, we have:

  • Rotating bending fatigue testing (RBFT)

Three Instron RR Moore rigs on which a fast rotating (up to 100Hz) specimen is loaded with a force perpendicular to the axis of rotation. All three rigs are equipped with furnaces for operation at temperatures up to 1000°C.

  • Impact testing

In either Charpy or Izod configuration, with capacities of: up to 25J with the Tinius Olsen IT503 bench system and over 290J with the Losenhausenwerk system.

State of the Art, uniqueness & specific advantages

The AMRL offers a vast array of opportunities for standout research and knowledge exchange in materials engineering and science, not only to the community at the University of Strathclyde, but equally to externals users in academia and industry.

The use of our combined capabilities is instrumental in allowing us to develop proficient and innovative practices, and, whether you are a process engineer, a quality manager or a researcher you can benefit of a comprehensive information suite about very complex material systems.

Our services vary from consultancy to commercial clients across all sectors of engineering to partnering with government and academic institutions in multidisciplinary research projects. In all cases, we are committed to playing a key role in the delivery of collaborative research and exploitation of new knowledge and skills.

Our core priority is to provide:

  • High level expertise, accurate results and effective turnaround;
  • An independent and impartial service;
  • Solutions tailored to specific requirements (e.g. examination, verification, validation or assessment).

Scientific Environment

The AMRL is located within the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and benefits from access to technical support and facilities as follows:

  • Metallographic sample preparation
  • Optical microscopy
  • Hardness/micro-hardness measurement
  • Mechanical fabrication workshop
  • Waterjet cutter for sample preparation
  • Erosion/Corrosion testing
Operating by

University of Strathclyde

University of Strathclyde
United Kingdom
CAPTURE technologies:
TRANSPORT technologies:
STORAGE technologies:
UTILISATION technologies:
Research Fields:
Chemistry/Geochemistry, Geology/Geophysics, Mechanics/Geomechanics, Material science, Modelling, Physical processes, Engineering
Facility's fact sheet

Location & Contacts

Glasgow, United Kingdom
RICC Contacts - Secondary contact
Philippa Parmiter

Facility Availability

Unit of access (UA)
Availability per year (in UA)
200 days per year (estimate)
Duration of a typical access (average) and number of external users expected for that access
Typical duration range: 1 – 20 days

Quality Control / Quality Assurance (QA)

Activities / tests / data are
State of Quality: The AMRL adheres to international testing and quality standards. All equipment is maintained under maintenance contracts with the suppliers and calibration certificates are obtained annually.

Operational or other constraints

Specific risks:
Tests should be planned well in advance due to constraints on staff support time and usage dedicated to other projects. Necessary instructions for operation is important in order to reduce risks, but one experienced person from AMRL will have to participate. Use of the AMRL facilities is covered by risk assessments specific to the installation, specialised training may be required. If samples are being brought into the AMRL, users are expected to provide Risk Assessments and COSHH Assessments prior to visiting the facility.
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