Contact Professor Nigel Simms

Areas of expertise


Dr Nigel Simms, MA, PhD, joined Cranfield University in 1998 following a 10 year period working for British Coal, which was preceded by education at Cambridge University. At Cambridge he completed a BA/MA in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Materials Science and Metallurgy. At British Coal he worked on a wide range of topics including the development of various advanced coal-fired power generation systems and component/process failure analysis. As Metallurgy/Materials Team Leader at British Coal, he managed a team of up to 15 people and participated in a range of UK and European collaborative projects on materials performance and hot gas cleaning in clean coal systems, including projects within the BC/CEGB Joint Programme on PFBC, the Grimethorpe Topping Cycle Project and the Air Blown Gasification Cycle developments. These activities have given him wide-ranging experience of the performance of components and materials in advanced power generation systems, as well as experience in the design and development of large laboratory scale test rigs and pilot plants for investigating materials performance in realistic industrial conditions.

Current activities

Dr Simms’ research activities are targeted at power generation systems, with emphasis on the development of advanced higher efficiency and lower emission power systems and the performance of components and materials in such systems. He is responsible for a wide of energy and materials related experimental facilities in the Centre for Energy and Resource Technology. These facilities include pilot plants for combustion and gasification of fuels, as well as a range of high temperature controlled atmosphere corrosion / oxidation furnace systems. The facilities are housed in a newly extended building and recent adaptions have included the installation of bulk gas supply systems for carbon capture and transport R&D. 

The activities of Dr Simms’ Energy Materials research group  have mostly been focused at generating understanding and predictive models of the performances of alloys and coatings in current and new power systems. This has included the use of alternative fuels (e.g. biomass, waste products alone and co-fired with coal), the development of new processes to minimise environmental impact (e.g. by optimisation of hot gas cleaning systems) and the development of new protective coating systems. Alloys and coatings for a wide range of components have been investigated, including: blades, vanes and seals for industrial gas turbines and jet engines; superheaters, resheaters and waterwalls for conventional power stations / steam systems; hot gas filters, syngas coolers, etc, for integrated gasification combined cycle systems.

Many of these research activities have been parts of large multi-partner, multi-disciplinary projects at least partly funded by a wide range of UK government and EU agencies. In addition, industrial companies are increasingly funding R&D related to materials and coating performance for specific components and operating environments, including the development of predictive models and new coating systems.

Networking activities have included: EU COST programmes on power plant materials and a UK-US collaborative programme on ‘Advanced Materials for Low Emission Power Plants’. He has published over 100 research papers on coal/biomass/waste technologies, materials/coatings performance and the development of corrosion life prediction models.


Current and previous clients for work at Cranfield University have included: 
  • UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
  • UK Technology Strategy Board
  • UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) 
  • UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 
  • EU Framework Programmes (FP5, FP6 and FP7) 
  • European Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) 
  • European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) 
  • Rolls-Royce plc Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery, UK 
  • Siemens Power Generation Inc, USA 
  • Siemens Energy Inc, USA and Germany 
  • Alstom Power, UK 
  • Alstom Power, Switzerland 
  • Doosan Babcock, UK 
  • Brunner Mond, UK 
  • Porvair Filtration, UK 
  • Thames Water Utilities Ltd, UK
  • Severn Trent plc, UK
  • RWE npower plc, UK
  • E.ON, UK


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Sumner J, Encinas-Oropesa A, Seraffon M, Simms NJ & Nicholls JR (2012) Lifetime prediction for gas turbine materials in power generation. In: International Conference on Sustainable Power Generation and Supply, Hangzhou, 8-9 September 2013.
  • Vichitrananda V, Simms N & Sumner J (2012) Subsea processing in remote marginal fields. In: 2012 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, San Antonio, 8-10 October 2012.
  • Syed AU, Hussain T, Oakey JE & Simms NJ (2011) Fireside corrosion of superheater materials in oxy-fired power plants. In: European Corrosion Congress 2011 (EUROCORR 2011), Stockholm, 4-8 September 2011.
  • Hussain T, Syed A, Oakey J & Simms N (2011) Microscopy of fireside corrosion on superheater materials for advanced power plants. In: Microscopy of Oxidation 8, Liverpool, 11-13 April 2011.
  • Lant T, Keefe C, Davies C, McGhee B, Simms N & Fry T (2011) Modeling fireside corrosion of heat exchanger materials in advanced energy systems. In: 6th International Conference on Advances in Materials Technology for Fossil Power Plants, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 31 August 2010.
  • Encinas-Oropesa A, Drew GL, Hardy MC, Leggett AJ, Nicholls JR & Simms NJ (2008) Effects of oxidation and hot corrosion in a nickel disc alloy. In: Superalloys 2008, Champion, PA, 14 September 2008.
  • Encinas-Oropesa A, Simms NJ, Nicholls JR, Drew GL & Leggett J (2008) Evaluation of oxidation related damage caused to a gas turbine disc alloy between 700 and 800oC. In: Microscopy of Oxidation 7, 2008, Chester, 15 September 2008.
  • Garg A, Smith Richard, Longhurst P J, Pollard Simon J T, Simms N & Hill D (2007) Comparative evaluation of SRF and RDF co-combustion with coal in a fluidised bed combustor. In: 11th International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium, 2007 (Sardinia 2007), S. Margherita di Pula, Cagliari, 1 October 2007.
  • Simms NJ, Kilgallon PJ & Oakey JE (2006) Heat Exchanger Corrosion in Biomass and Coal Co-fired Power Plants. In: Materials for Advanced Power Engineering 2006, Liege, Belgium, 18 September 2006.
  • Oakey JE, Kilgallon PJ & Simms NJ (2006) Effects of Biomass and Coal Co-combustion on Degradation of Heat Exchanger Materials. In: International Conference on Advances in Condition and Remaining Life Assessment For Fossil Power Plants, Louisville, USA, 16 October 2006.
  • Cartmell E, Judd SJ, Kilgallon PJ & Oakey JE (2005) Sewage sludge disposal: A logistical analysis. In: Recycling and reuse of sewage sludge, Dundee, UK, 16 February 2005.
  • Abanades J, Oakey JE, Alvarez D & Hamalainen J (2005) Novel Combustion cycles incorporating capture of CO2 with CaO. In: 6th International Greenhouse Gas conference 2002, Kyoto, Japan, 15 February 2005.
  • Simms NJ, Encinas-Oropesa A, Kilgallon PJ & Oakey JE (2005) Performance of gas turbine materials in 'dirty fuel' environments. In: Materials for Advanced Power Engineering 2002, Liege, Belgium, 1 October 2005.
  • Smarsly W, Zheng N, Vivo E, Sporer D, Tuffs M, Schreiber K, Defer B, Langalde-Bomba C, Anderson O, Goehler H, Simms NJ & McGolvin G (2005) Advanced high temperature turbine seals materials and designs. In: 6th International Charles Parsons Turbine Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 1 September 2005.
  • Simms NJ, Encinas-Oropesa A & Nicholls JR (2004) Hot corrosion of coated single crystal superalloys. In: EUROCORR 2004 - European Corrosion Conference: Long Term Prediction and Modelling of Corrosion, Nice, 12-16 September 2004.
  • Pollard S, Cartmell E, Riddell-Black D, Gostelow P, Oakey JE, Jeffrey P, Morris J & Howsam P (2004) Sewage sludge - waste or fuel? An integrated appraisal of five co-combustion scenarios. In: Waste 2004, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, 28 September 2004.
  • Kilgallon PJ, Simms NJ & Oakey JE (2004) Fate of Trace Contaminants from Biomass Fuels in Gasification Systems. In: Materials for Advanced Power Engineering 2002, Liege, Belgium, 1 October 2004.
  • Henderson MB, Allen D, Oakey JE, Bailey D & Otter N (2003) European perspective on life cycle and materials technology issues for future energy systems. In: 3rd International Workshop on Life Cycle Issues in Advanced Energy Systems, 9 June 2002.
  • Kilgallon PJ, Simms NJ, Norton J & Oakey JE (2002) Materials for Gasifier Heat Exchangers. In: Materials for Advanced Power Engineering 2002, Liege, Belgium, 1 October 2002.
  • Saunders S, Simms NJ, Osgerby S & Oakey JE (2002) Degradation of Boiler and Heat Exchanger Materials: Data Generation, Databases and Predictive Modelling. In: Materials for Advanced Power Engineering 2002, Liege, Belgium, 1 October 2002.
  • Simms NJ, Bale D, Baxter D & Oakey JE (2002) Environmental Degradation of Gas Turbine Coatings: Towards Standardised Testing and Databases. In: Materials for Advance Power Engineering, Liege, Belgium, 1 October 2002.
  • Nicholls JR, Simms NJ, Taylor M & Evans HE (2002) Smart overlay coatings. In: Advanced Coatings for High Temperature Turbine Forum, Nice, France, 17 April 2002.
  • Simms NJ, Kilgallon PJ & Oakey JE (2001) Component durability in co-fired gas turbines. In: VTT symposium: BALTICA international conference on condition and life management for power plants, Porvoo, Finland, 1 June 2001.
  • Simms NJ, Kilgallon PJ, Nicholls JR & Oakey JE (2001) Gas turbines for solid fuel fired combined cycle power plants. In: John Stringer Symposium on High Temperature Corrosion : proceedings from Materials Solutions Conference 2001, Indianapolis, IN, 5 November 2001.
  • Simms NJ, Norton JF, Encinas-Oropesa A, Oakey JE, Wilshaw D & McColvin G (2001) Degradation of Fe- and Ni-based Cr, Al-containing foils in a combustion gas atmosphere. In: John Stringer Symposium on High Temperature Corrosion: proceedings from Materials Solutions Conference, 2001, Indianapolis, IN, 5-8 November 2001.
  • Simms NJ, Smith PJ, Encinas-Oropesa A, Ryder S, Nicholls JR & Oakey JE (2001) Development of type II hot corrosion in solid fuel fired gas turbines.
  • Nicholls JR, Simms NJ, Neseyif S, Evans HE, Pontin CB & Taylor M (2000) Hot corrosion of smart overlay coatings. In: High Temperature Corrosion and Materials Chemistry: Proceedings of the Per Kofstad Memorial Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii, 17-22 October 1999.
  • Simms NJ, Oakey JE & Nicholls JR (2000) A methodology for the quantification of corrosion and erosion damage in laboratory, burner rig and plant environments. In: High Temperature Corrosion and Materials Chemistry: Proceedings of the Per Kofstad Memorial Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii, 17-22 October 1999.
  • Oakey JE & Simms NJ (1996) Measurement of erosion/corrosion damage to gas turbine components. In: International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exhibition 1996, Birmingham, 10 June 1996.


  • Animah I, Shafiee M, Simms N & Considine M (2017) Techno-Economic Feasibility Assessment of Life Extension Decision for Safety Critical Assets. In: Risk, Reliability and Safety: Innovating Theory and Practice. Walls L, Revie M, Bedford T (ed.), London: CRC Press.
  • Gohari Darabkhani H, Jurado N, Simms N & Oakey J (2012) Co-firing of coal/biomass in a pilot scale oxy-combustor: experiences and experimental results. In: Fuelling the future: advances in science and technologies for energy generation, transmission and storage. Mendez-Vilas A (ed.), Boca Raton, FL, USA: Brown Walker Press, p. 34-38.
  • Nicholls JR, Long KA & Simms NJ (2010) Diffusion coatings. In: Shreir's Corrosion, Amsterdam, p. 2532-2555.
  • Nicholls JR & Simms NJ (2010) Gas turbine oxidation and corrosion. In: Shrier's corrosion. Richardson TJA (ed.), Amsterdam, p. 518-540.
  • Simms N, Nicholls J, Oakey J (eds), (2001) Lifetime modelling of high temperature corrosion processes, Maney Publishing.
  • Simms N, Encinas-Oropesa A, Nicholls J, Oakey J (eds), (2001) Life modelling of high temperature corrosion processes, Maney Publishing.
  • Simms NJ, Nicholls JR & Oakey JE (2001) Corrosion and lifetime modelling of components in coal fired combined cycle power systems. In: Lifetime Modelling of High Temperature Corrosion Processes, London: Maney Publishing, p. 379-397.