Contact Professor Stewart Williams


Prior to commencing at Cranfield University Professor Williams was at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre for nearly 20 years. Here he managed a research group investigating mainly laser based manufacturing processes for aerospace and defence applications. This included micro-machining, drilling of fine holes, surface treatments and welding. He was responsible for development of a laser based wire marking method from which a company was set up to exploit the technology. He was also heavily involved in development and qualification of friction stir welding for Airbus.

Previously he was a development engineer at a small company, Edinburgh Instruments where he initially worked on CO2 waveguide lasers and their accessories. Subsequently he developed laser systems for resistor trimming and medical applications. Professor Williams obtained a degree in physics and a PhD in laser physics from Royal Holloway College at the University of London.

Current activities

Main research activities are focused on additive manufacture and laser processing. Additive manufacture research is targeted at large scale engineering structures using the wire plus arc additive manufacture (WAAM) process. A multi project multi-client programme has been put in place, WAAMMat, aimed at maturing the technology so that it can be exploited by industry. The research is tackling problems such as automation, mechanical properties, residual stress and distortion and how to build complex structures. The programme comprises more than 20 activities including student projects, industry contracts and government funded projects. As well as industrial partners we have several academic partners helping us achieve our goal.

Laser processing research is based around using fundamental material interaction parameters for different processes. This is being applied to industrial problems such as laser hybrid welding of pipelines and laser cutting. Pulsed laser research is targeting problems such as dissimilar welding, composite processing and peening.


  • Airbus SE
  • Aircraft Research Association
  • Kloeckner Metals UK (ASD Ltd)
  • Atomic Weapons Establishment
  • BAE Systems PLC
  • Bombardier Inc
  • Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • Faiveley Transport SA
  • GE Power
  • GKN Ltd
  • Heerema International Group Services SA
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • MBDA UK Ltd
  • Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC
  • Subsea7
  • Tata Steel


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers