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Steven Rae

PhD Student

I am a materials chemist working within ACCIS and the Wass Group in The School of Chemistry. Prior to starting my PhD in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Bristol, I completed a Masters degree in chemistry at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. This has allowed me to bring a knowledge of materials and chemistry into an engineering environment and exploit the intrinsic properties of chemicals to develop novel functional materials.

My PhD project involves investigating chemistries that could be utilised in novel self-healing systems under the supervision of Professor Ian Bond. My main focus is on developing a foaming healing agent that would allow much larger damage volumes to be repaired than is currently possible with conventional epoxy resin based self-healing systems. This is possible through a polymerisation reaction that evolves gas as part of the reaction mechanism. The gas is trapped within the curing polymer, forming the foam. Tailoring the foam’s mechanical and physical properties is essential for the development of a useful healing agent and is possible through careful chemical selection.

I have previously worked at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) developing chemical sensors to monitor gas composition within structures and at British Heat Treatments (BHT) specifying chemical and heat treatment cycles to impart specified mechanical properties into metal components.  Both of these positions has allowed me to apply my chemistry knowledge within an engineering environment and has allowed me to work alongside people with vastly different disciplines; something that is essential to my PhD work today.

My work is supported by the EPSRC.


M.S. Scholz, J.P. Blanchfield, L.D. Bloom, B.H. Coburn, M. Elkington, J.D. Fuller, M.E. Gilbert, S.A. Muflahi, M.F. Pernice, S.I. Rae, J.A. Trevarthen, S.C. White, P.M. Weaver, I.P. Bond. The use of composite materials in modern orthopaedic medicine and prosthetic devices: A review. Compos. Sci. Technol., 2011, 71, 1791-1803.

S.I. Rae, I. Khan. Surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensors for gas analysis. Analyst., 2010, 135, 1365-1369.

Supervisors: Ian Bond, Richard Trask, Duncan Wass

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