Contact Professor Gareth Appleby-Thomas

Areas of expertise

  • Armour systems
  • Defence manufacturing
  • Test and Evaluation
  • Vehicle Engineering & Mobility
  • Weapons Engineering


  • 1999 – 2003: MSci in Physics and Astronomy, Durham University
  • 2003 – 2007: D.Phil in Materials Science, Department of Materials, University of Oxford. Thesis title: Advanced Materials for Plasma Facing Components in Fusion Devices. Graduated 7th of November 2009. Thesis available at:
  • 2007 – 2012: Research Fellow, Dynamic Response Group, Cranfield University
  • 2012 – 2015: Lecturer and Head of the Dynamic Response Group
  • 2015 - 2017: Senior Lecturer and Head of the Dynamic Response Group
  • 2017 - 2018: Senior Lecturer and Head of Survivability and Advanced Materials (CDE)
  • 2018 - 2019: Reader and Head of Survivability and Advanced Materials (CDE)
  • 2019 - 2021: Reader and Head of the Centre for Defence Engineering (CDE)
  • 2021 - present: Professor of High Strain-Rate Material Response for Defence Applications and Head of the Centre for Defence Engineering (CDE)
Married on 22nd March 2008; new surname of Appleby-Thomas (previously Thomas) adopted.

Research opportunities

Materials (armour / high strain-rate behaviour)
  • Applications are invited from self-funded PhD students interested in the development of novel material solutions for defence applications

Current activities

As Head of the Centre for Defence Engineering, I am responsible for the growth and development of the Centre, with the overarching aim of creating world-leading academic knowledge within the multiple disciplines that make up defence engineering and technology.

My research in understanding the dynamic behaviour of materials provides a unique underpinning for this role and is particularly helpful when designing structures that are subjected to ballistic impact or shock-wave loading. 

This element of my work is based around the fields of Survivability, Lethality and Materials - bridging across several of the groups within the Centre and more widely.  A particular focus of my own research is an interest in the dynamic behaviour of materials used in armour systems, vehicular and aerospace structures, and munitions.  

Further, I have a background in the shock behaviour of biological structures which has led to a substantial body of research including two PhDs, an MSc by Research and several publications to-date.

These interests, collectively encompassing material behaviour under extreme conditions, has led to an emerging focus on material behaviour under hypervelocity impact (2-8 km/s) - and has led to the opportunity to co-found a 'Consortium for Organotypic Research on Ageing and Microgravity' ( alongside Dr Alexandra Iordachescu from Birmingham.

I'm currently involved with the ShockWaves and Extreme Conditions (SWEC) group of the IoP (a founding member of the Committee, I served as Chair from 2018-2022) and am directly involved in the promotion of physics and engineering to the wider community: 

As part of the above, I have successfully stood up a series of SWEC research talks / seminars.  Details are available at the following link (all are welcome to attend): 

Recordings of the some of the recent talks include

  • 4th webinar - 'Modelling the bone response to extreme environments using organotypic cultures'Alexandra Iordachescu:
  • 5th webinar - 'Tissue analogue selection for ballistic applications', Gareth Appleby-Thomas: 


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers