Contact Dr Ranko Vrcelj


Ranko graduated from the University of Essex as a Theoretical Physicist, but then decided to work with real things and obtained an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Crystallography from Birkbeck College, University of London.  He has worked at a number of UK Universities ranging across physics, chemistry and materials science.

Current activities

Ranko is a Senior Lecturer in Ordnance Science and Technology, with a background in both Academia and Industry.  This experience leads to his interest in developing cross functional technologies, so that materials of use can be combined into effective delivery systems, generating a product that is greater than the sum of its parts.

With this broad interest in understanding the relationships between materials structure and subsequent usage, he is particularly focused on cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding material systems and then applying that understanding to real-world problems and has a number of areas of research:


  • 3D printing of energetics
  • Crystallisation of materials from solution, vapour and melt phases
  • Polymorphism in organic materials
  • Hydration/Dehydration (and solvation in general) in organic materials 
  • Developing new molecular constructs for safe materials handling
  • X-ray and optical imaging methods for materials analysis
  • Whole system understanding – from molecule through to product
  • Safer manufacturing and distributive manufacturing
  • Validation of model systems

Ranko publishes in peer-reviewed journals and is a reviewer for journal families such as the Royal Society of Chemistry and American Chemical Society. He currently teaches Pyrotechnics within the Centre for Defence Chemistry and is also a visiting academic at Chemistry, University of Southampton.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers


  • Vrcelj R (2019) Chapter 5: Pyrotechnics and the environment. In: Energetic Materials and Munitions: Life Cycle Management, Environmental Impact, and Demilitarization, Hoboken, NJ, United States: Wiley, p. 103-138.