Contact Dr Sue Impey

Areas of expertise

  • Instrumentation, Sensors and Measurement Science
  • Manufacturing of Functional Materials
  • Aerospace Materials
  • Nanomaterials
  • Smart Materials
  • Surface Engineering


Dr Sue Impey is a materials scientist with over 30 years expertise in surface characterisation and thin oxide coatings for a range of applications. Currently course director for the Aerospace Materials MSc (Manufacturing and Materials) at Cranfield University, supporting the learning and skills development of a select cohort of students focused on aerospace materials engineering over one year (10 to 20 students) part of the larger combined Manufacturing and Materials MSc course family (150 to 200 students per year). Sue's teaching focus is on sustainable, functional aerospace materials, materials selection, and characterisation. Winner of the Student Choice Award 2023 for best lecturer in the School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing. She provides and supports industry focused projects for students.

Formerly academic lead responsible for the management of analytical equipment for surface and materials characterisation at Cranfield University and resources. Sue delivered (March 2021) a significant investment in scanning electron microscopy for the University for the benefit of external clients, students and staff.

Research opportunities

Research activity and interests are in surface and interface engineering. In particular, the design of functional ultrathin films and coatings. enhancing service life of assets through surface coatings, corrosion protection. Current areas of interest are developing novel materials and processing techniques for applications in sustainability using electrochemical processes (next generation batteries and hydrogen electrolysis).

Dr Impey seeks excellent PhD candidates who are eager to learn and carry out research in nanomaterials, surface engineering, thin films, coating manufacturing development and component lifetimes. Information on fees and funding opportunities can be found at:

We are interested to hear from you if you have an MSc (or close to completion) in materials science/engineering, physical/electro-chemistry, mechanical/electrical engineering, micro/nanotechnology, biology/bioscience or relevant thin film manufacturing and characterisation disciplines. For further details please contact Dr Impey or Dr's Aria and Chianella

Current activities

Previous and ongoing research projects include:

UKRI Innovate UK 133908: Flexible Electrochromic Windows with Photovoltaic Generation

HEIF/Tata Steel, Corby UK: Corrosion and Service Life Testing; pre-commission cleaning, commissioning, life prediction of pipeline materials for building and industrial services pipelines.

EPSRC/ Sophion Bioscience A/S Denmark: Measurement system to determine the mechanical properties of 3D printed hydrogel structures

EPSRC/BAE Systems: Structural health monitoring of composite structures using securely embedded fibre optic sensors and low cost COTS connectors

Aqua Holdings Ltd Ukraine: Environmentally acceptable corrosion and scale inhibitors in circulating open cooling water systems

Doctoral Research:

Novel technologies for the manufacture of promising new green materials such as biofuels and lactic acid

Protection of magnesium alloys from corrosion using magnesium rich surfaces


Thin Metal Films Ltd

Sophion Ltd

Tata Steel

Building and Industrial Services Pipeline Academy


BAE Systems,

Relevant previous clients include:


Airbus UK, Rolls-Royce




Articles In Journals

Conference Papers