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.  Examples include surface protection to enhance corrosion resistance and novel applications in sustainability.  Dr Impey has conducted research in surface engineering into oxidation and corrosion aspects building and industrial pipeline services, casting and manufacturing industry, high temperature coatings for aerospace, and ceramics thin film sensors for microelectronics, automotive and aerospace manufacturing sectors. 

Dr Impey is the academic lead responsible for the management of analytical equipment for surface and materials characterisation at Cranfield University and all resources. She provides support to the University and a service to industry in materials characterisation and failure analysis using analytical methods. She instigated and delivered (March 2021) a significant investment in scanning electron microscopy for the University for the benefit of external clients, students and staff.

Appointed to the lecturing staff in 2003, and Senior Lecturer in 2009, she undertakes teaching and academic activities. Dr Impey has developed and directed Manufacturing Technology and Materials MSc courses since 2003 for the University supporting MSc programmes in Aerospace Materials, Advanced Materials, Applied Nanotechnology, Microsystems and Nanotechnology), Welding Engineering, Manufacturing Technology and Management and the recent level 7 Apprenticeship (Mastership) in materials process engineering.  She currently directs the Aerospace Materials MSc.

Sue joined Cranfield from the chemical industry in 1995. She has a PhD in Metallurgical Engineering for work in aluminium alloy oxidation and recycling and MSc in Aerospace Materials. 

Research opportunities

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:

Current vacancies in Dr Impey's Group:
PhD/MPhil/MRes in Flexible Electrochromic Materials.  Research on the design, selection, formulation, manufacturing, and development of electrochromic smart windows and their integration with PV devices for application in ODA countries. For further details please contact Dr Indrat Aria and Dr Impey

PhD/MPhil/MRes in sensors and lifetime predictive methods for determining coating degradation, corrosion under insulation and galvanic corrosion in collaboration with Tata Steel and support to the Building and Industrial Services Pipeline Academy. For further details please contact Dr Impey

PhD/MPhil/MRes in novel materials approaches to infection control.  Opportunities for research in sanitising surfaces for COVID-19 or infection control for orthopaedic implants. For further details please contact Dr Indrat Aria, Dr Iva Chianella and Dr Impey

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

Dr Impey’s research interests in surface science and engineering include surface modification (protection and corrosion control) of lightweight aerospace materials (aluminium and magnesium) and steels; development of oxide coatings including printable pastes and thin films for smart coating designs. These include high temperature, electrochromic, thermochromic and solar applications and sensors

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
  •  Control of Magnesium Alloy Corrosion Through the use of Engineered Intermetallics
  •  Descriptors for Assessing Electroless Nickel-Phosphorous Coatings for Diamond Turning Capability
  •  Environmentally acceptable corrosion and scale inhibitors in circulating open cooling water systems
  •  Corrosion of High Strength Pipeline Steel Weldment Using Submerged Jet Impingement
  •  Predicting Service Life of Steel Tubes in Building and Industrial Services
  •  Wear resistant nickel composite coatings deposited by brush electroplating Ni/WC, Ni/PT;FE and Ni/Cr3C2.


  • Thin Metal Films Ltd
  • Sophion Ltd
  • Tata Steel
  • Building and Industrial Services Pipeline Academy
  • Safran
  • BAE Systems,

Relevant previous clients include:

  • EPSRC (CTA and IMRC)
  • MOD, HMGCC, DSTL, Qioptiq
  • Airbus UK, Rolls-Royce
  • Thales
  • Rexam
  • Saint-Gobain
  • Sensata
  • Man Diesel and Turbo
  • Wartsila


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers


  • Impey S (eds), (2003) Symposium on electrochromic materials and applications held at the 203rd meeting of the electrochemical society.