This three-day course will provide an understanding of the role that surfaces play in materials behaviour of thin film and coating systems. Sessions will review concepts of surface engineering for multiple applications and how this may be used to optimise and influence the product life cycle.

The course covers the deposition and characterisation of functional coatings and thin films, focussing on coatings for aerospace and the influence of surface engineering on the product life cycle. Deposition methods, physical vapour deposition, chemical vapour deposition, electron beam PVD, electroplating, and plasma spraying will be covered.

Integrating both theory with lab practice should ensure a greater understanding and appreciation of the concepts for application.The fundamentals of this course cover practical deposition and characterisation of functional coatings and thin films for multiple applications such as mechanical, biomedical, catalytic, electronic and power generation using a large variety of deposition methods (physical vapour deposition, chemical vapour deposition, sol-gel, electron beam PVD, electroplating, and plasma spraying).

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • Duration3 days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost£870 Concessions available

Course structure

Lectures covering deposition, analytical techniques, coatings design and industrial case studies. Analytical demonstrations and surface preparation required for microscopy will be undertaken, as well as tours of our laboratory facilities.

What you will learn

  • Expanded knowledge of engineering PVD, CVD, electrochemical and plasma spray coating processes, and their applications.
  • Awareness of alternative coating technologies and the advantages they offer.
  • Understanding of how coatings are designed into products, and how their performance may be assessed and improved.
  • Opportunity to meet experts from different engineering coatings fields.

On successful completion of this short course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the concepts of surface engineering applied to a product lifecycle.
  • Have a greater awareness of alternative coating technologies and the advantages they offer.
  • Understanding of how coatings are designed into products, validated, and how their performance may be assessed and improved.
  • An appreciation of future materials sustainability and process technologies.

Core content

  • Surface engineering; including surface characterisation using SEM, FIB, XRD, nano-indentation, AFM, XPS, scratch testing, RFDA, optical methods such as FTIR, Raman, UV-Vis spectroscopy.
  • Coatings rechnology; E-beam PVD, thermal evaporation, CVD, electroplating, and plasma spraying.


Please click here to download the timetable.

Who should attend

Newcomers, engineers, and managers who use - or see a future for - coatings technology in their industry. Individuals involved in research and development seeking to broaden their expertise. No previous knowledge of coating techniques is required, but an engineering or technical background is helpful.


All friends together for ‘hands-on’ coatings short course

Cranfield is part of a new Marie Curie staff exchange project called FRIENDS2.

The project promotes collaboration with leading German research institution Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, along with two industrial partners, Spanish SME Metal Estalki and multinational telecommunications company Abengoa, to develop new coatings for the thermosolar power industry.

As part of this, the FRIENDS2 project group organised its first ever training workshop on extreme surface engineering and coatings for a dozen industrialists from the two partner companies at the Cranfield campus in June. The three-day course saw UK and German academics join forces for lectures interspersed with more than eight hours’ hands-on deposition training, analytical demonstrations and laboratory tours.

The workshop’s directors, Professor Jose Endrino and Dr Jeff Rao, said: “We’re very pleased with the response to this training programme which sought to enthuse and motivate those involved in coatings technologies looking to broaden their expertise. Also thanks to our staff from SENTi (Surface Engineering and Nanotechnology Institute) who helped make it such a success.”

The course, supported by recent Cranfield academic Dr Mark Craig (now Safran Power UK) and Dr Yuri Zhuk (Technical Director, Hardide plc), also included a tour of Oerlikon Balzers Coating in Milton Keynes hosted by Toby Middlemiss (Aerospace Segment Manager, Oerlikon UK).

The next ’hands-on’ coatings workshop at Cranfield is from 27-29 June 2016 and it is hoped this will become an annual event.

For further details on the project, part of Horizon 2020 (the EU framework programme for research and innovation), visit


  • Professor John Nicholls – professor of coatings technology
  • Dr David Rickerby – associate professor in surface engineering
  • Dr Jeff Rao- senior research fellow
  • Dr Christine Chalk – research fellow
  • Dr Indrat Aria – senior research fellow
  • Dr Luis Isern – research fellow
  • Dr Steve Bomford – Oerlikon Metco UK


20% discount for Cranfield Alumni. 
10% discount when registering 3 or more delegates, from the same organisation at the same time.  

Accommodation fees are not included in the discount scheme. Please ask about our discount scheme at time of booking.


This course is non-residential. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information about our on campus accommodation can be found here.  Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel. 

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.