Mike Reece is Professor in Functional Ceramics at QMUL. His PhD was on the microstructures and properties of natural and synthetic
ferrites. His past research has focused on mechanical problems that determined the performance of structural and functional ceramics.
He produced some of the earliest reported work on the mechanical fatigue of structural ceramics. This work provided some of the first
direct evidence that mechanical fatigue effects are significant in structural ceramics, and not simply a manifestation of stress
corrosion effects (static fatigue) as previously thought. He then moved to The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) where he worked on
problems associated with the mechanical and microstructural characterisation of structural and functional ceramics. The stimulus for
most of this work came from needs identified by industrial focus groups and the UK need to support standardisation activities.
His work at QMUL has focused on the electromechanical properties of ferroelectric, ferroelastic and piezoelectric ceramics.
This includes research on the fracture, crack growth, creep / relaxation and degradation of ferroelectric / ferroelastic ceramics, and
the use of nanoindentation to study and characterise ferroelectric thin films. More recently, he has been working on the development of
layered perovskite ceramics for application as high temperature piezoelectric sensors. He has recently set-up the first spark plasma
sintering (SPS) furnace in the UK. The focus of his research in this area is to produce new structural and functional ceramics. This
includes materials with nanoscale, high texture and metastable microstructures. His research groups work on the texturing of
ferroelectric ceramics has solved a thirty year problem in this field. In 2009 they reported for the first time ferroelectricity
and piezoelectricity in A2B2O7 compounds with super-high Curie points (>1,300°C). This work has opened up this field, with the prospect
of producing a step change in the operating temperature of piezoelectric sensors. A longterm objective of his work is commercialise
materials prepared by SPS through knowledge transfer and spin-outs. He is collaborating with more than ten UK companies to evaluate the
potential of SPS.
While at NPL he founded the UK Ceramics Matrix Composite Group. The Group ran biannual events (1992-97). He was the secretary of the
IoMMM Electronics Applications Divisional Board (2002-07). He has recently become the chair for the new IoMMM Functional Materials Committee,
which is focused on the training of early stage researchers in materials processing. He is a Director of Nanoforce Technology Ltd a spin-out
copy from QMUL.
His Topic of Materials' Days 2010:
SPS processing of ferroelectric ceramics