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Andrew Alderson

Professor Andrew Alderson CSci, CPhys, MInstP, PhD

Professor of Smart Materials and Structures


Professor Alderson is Professor of Smart Materials and Structures and undertakes highly collaborative interdisciplinary advanced materials research at the academia/industry interface. He is a recognised world authority on auxetic (negative Poisson’s ratio) materials, and has interests into related counterintuitive phenomena such as negative stiffness and negative thermal expansion. His research employs a combination of modelling and experimental methodologies to study the design-processing-structure-properties relationships in polymers, composites, textiles, cellular solids, inorganics and mechanical metamaterials from the nanoscale to the macroscale.

  • About

    Since gaining his BSc (1st Class Honours) and PhD in Physics at the University of Liverpool, Professor Alderson has worked for 25 years in the advanced materials field, with particular emphasis on auxetic (negative Poisson’s ratio) materials. Prior to joining the Materials and Engineering Research Institute in 2013, he was Director of the Institute for Materials Research and Innovation, Head of Sciences and Professor of Materials Physics at the University of Bolton. He has also worked in the Nuclear industry (BNFL) and held Directorships with I-zone Incubation Ltd and Auxetic Technologies Ltd.

    He is a Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP), Chartered Physicist (CPhys) and Chartered Scientist (CSci). He has served on 10 EPSRC panels (including panel chair), as a guest editor of several special/focus issues of Physica Status Solidi B and Smart Materials and Structures, and is a member of the Editorial Boards of Computational Methods in Science and Technology and Applied Sciences.

    Over 140 papers have been published from his research collaborations into auxetic and related materials/structures, nuclear structure physics, conductive polymers and flame-retardant materials.

    Technology transfer is a key focus and, in addition to his company Directorships, he is a co-inventor on 15 patent applications and has undertaken consultancies with several companies in the healthcare, sports and chemical sectors. His 15 patent applications relate to inventions for products in filtration, radiation sensing, manufacturing, apparel, advanced composites and biomedical applications. He has played leading roles with industry-facing consortia (e.g. Innovate UK REACTICS and EU FP CHISMACOMB), networks (EPSRC Auxetic Materials Network) and regional collaborative research centres (North West Composites Centre), and has been involved in collaborative research programmes worth in excess of £10M.

    He is a keen communicator of science, regularly delivering seminars and workshops to the public, companies, trade events, and science and technology conferences. His award-winning research has featured in the Science Museum (London) and on BBC TV and Radio.

    Awards for his research include:
    • Kenneth Harris James prize of the Aerospace Industries Divisional Board of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (2008)
    • EPSRC Life Sciences Interface Programme regional meeting prize (2003)
    • De Montfort prize, SET Young Engineers and Scientists, House of Commons (2001)

    Specialist areas of interest:
    - Auxetic materials;
    - Mechanical metamaterials;
    - Mechanical properties;
    - Polymers;
    - Composites;

  • Teaching

    Department of Engineering and Mathematics

    Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences

    Final year undergraduate and Masters project supervision:

    55-6759 Project and Project Management

    MSc Advanced Materials Engineering
    BSc(Hons) Sport Technology
    BEng Mechanical Engineering
    BEng Materials Engineering

    MSc Sports Engineering
    MEng Mechanical Engineering
    BSc Sport Technology
    BSc Mechanical Engineering
    BEng Mechanical Engineering
    BSc (Hons) Aerospace Technology
    BSc Aeronautical Engineering

  • Research

    • Materials and Engineering Research Institute


    My main research focus is on advanced and smart materials having unusual mechanical and thermal properties. A major activity is research into auxetic (negative Poisson's ratio) materials, which is now naturally extending into other negative phenomena (thermal expansion and stiffness).

    Other research areas I have undertaken relate to nuclear structure physics, conductive polymers, flame-retardant materials and technical textiles. My research employs a combination of modelling and experimental methodologies to study the design-processing-structure-properties relationships in polymers, composites and inorganics from the nanoscale to the macroscale.

    I am especially interested in developing materials having extremal/optimal properties for applications in the transport, healthcare technologies, advanced manufacturing and low carbon sectors.


    I have been involved in national and international collaborative research programmes worth almost £10M in total, and have successfully secured funding from sources including: EPSRC, TSB, Regional Development Agency, EU Framework Programme, US ARO and a range of other charitable and industrial funders.

    Noteworthy examples include

    • Coordinator of the TSB-funded REACTICS consortium (2006-2009; value £1M)
    • Co-investigator and Management Board member of the NWDA-funded NW Composites Centre (2005-2009; value £2.1M) University lead contact and Steering Committee member of the EC FP6 CHISMACOMB consortium (2005-2008; value €3M)
    • Co-investigator and Project Manager of the DTI Foresight LINK ENFIRTEX consortium (2000-2003; value £0.7M)
    • EPSRC-funded projects (total value: 0.7M)
    • Principal investigator for EP/J501839/1 - Industrial CASE award (July 2012—Dec 2015) - A novel space creation and organ retraction system for laparoscopic surgery.
    • Co-Investigator and Chair of the Steering Group of the UK's Auxetic Materials Network (GR/S13064/01 AuxetNet – 2003-2006; rated 'Outstanding/Internationally leading')
    • Co-investigator for GR/R97313/01, GR/R97320/01 and GR/R97337/01 (2003-2005) - Multi-domain microstructure design of smart coupled mechanical and em solids
    • Principal investigator for GR/R19397/01 (2001-2004) - Modelling of the mechanical and separation properties of negative Poisson’s ratio nanomaterials
  • Publications

    DUNCAN, Oliver, ALLEN, Tom, FOSTER, Leon, SENIOR, Terry and ALDERSON, Andrew (2017). Fabrication, characterisation and modelling of uniform and gradient auxetic foam sheets. Acta Materialia, 126, 426-437.

    HEWAGE, Trishan, ALDERSON, Kim, ALDERSON, Andrew and SCARPA, Fabrizio (2016). Double-Negative Mechanical Metamaterials Displaying Simultaneous Negative Stiffness and Negative Poisson’s Ratio Properties. Advanced Materials. (In Press)

    YAO, Yong T, ALDERSON, Kim L and ALDERSON, Andrew (2016). Modeling of negative Poisson’s ratio (auxetic) crystalline cellulose Iβ. Cellulose.

    ALLEN, Tom, DUNCAN, Olly, FOSTER, Leon, SENIOR, Terry, ZAMPIERI, Davide, EDEH, Victor and ALDERSON, Andrew (2016). Auxetic foam for snowsport safety devices. In: Snow sports trauma and safety: proceedings of the International Society of Skiing Safety. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 21 . International Society for Skiing Safety. (In Press)

    ALDERSON, Kim, NAZARÉ, Shonali and ALDERSON, Andrew (2016). Large-scale extrusion of auxetic polypropylene fibre. Physica status solidi b, 253 (7), 1279-1287.

    WOJCIECHOWSKI, Krzysztof W., SCARPA, Fabrizio, GRIMA, Joseph N. and ALDERSON, Andrew (2016). Auxetics and other systems of “negative” characteristics. physica status solidi b, 253 (7), 1241-1242.

    DUNCAN, Oliver, FOSTER, Leon, SENIOR, Terry, ALLEN, Tom and ALDERSON, Andrew (2016). A comparison of novel and conventional fabrication methods for auxetic foams for sports safety applications. Procedia Engineering, 147, 384-389.

    SCARPA, Fabrizio, ALDERSON, Andrew, RUZZENE, Massimo and WOJCIECHOWSKI, Krzysztof (2016). Auxetics in smart systems and structures 2015. Smart Materials and Structures, 25 (5).

    DUNCAN, Olly, FOSTER, Leon, SENIOR, Terry, ALDERSON, Andrew and ALLEN, Tom (2016). Quasi-static characterisation and impact testing of auxetic foam for sports safety applications. Smart Materials and Structures. (In Press)

    ALLEN, Tom, MARTINELLO, Nicolo, ZAMPIERI, Davide, HEWAGE, Trishan, SENIOR, Terry, FOSTER, Leon and ALDERSON, Andrew (2015). Auxetic Foams for Sport Safety Applications. Procedia Engineering, 112, 104-109.

    WOJCIECHOWSKI, Krzysztof W., SCARPA, Fabrizio, GRIMA, Joseph N. and ALDERSON, Andrew (2015). Auxetics and other systems of “negative” characteristics. physica status solidi b, 252 (7), 1421-1425.

    ALLEN, Tom, SHEPHERD, Jonathon, HEWAGE, Trishan M, SENIOR, Terry, FOSTER, Leon and ALDERSON, Andrew (2015). Low-kinetic energy impact response of auxetic and conventional open-cell polyurethane foams. physica status solidi b, 252 (7), 1631-1639.

    NAZARÉ, Frank and ALDERSON, Andrew (2015). Models for the prediction of Poisson's ratio in the 'alpha-cristobalite' tetrahedral framework. physica status solidi b, 252 (7), 1465-1478.

    ALDERSON, Kim L., ALDERSON, Andrew, GRIMA, Joseph N. and WOJCIECHOWSKI, Krzysztof W. (2014). Auxetic materials and related systems. Physica status solidi B - basic solid state physics, 251 (2), 263-266.

    SANAMI, Mohammad, RAVIRALA, Naveen, ALDERSON, Kim and ALDERSON, Andrew (2014). Auxetic materials for sports applications. Procedia Engineering, 72, 453-458.

    LIM, T. C., ALDERSON, Andrew and ALDERSON, K. L. (2013). Experimental studies on the impact properties of auxetic materials. Physica status solidi (b), 251 (2), 307-313.

    ALDERSON, Andrew, ALDERSON, Kim L., MCDONALD, Samuel A., MOTTERSHEAD, Beth, NAZARE, Shonali, WITHERS, Philip J. and YAO, Yong T. (2013). Piezomorphic materials. Macromolecular Materials and Engineering, 298 (3), 318-327.

    ALDERSON, Andrew, ALDERSON, K.L., ATTARD, D., EVANS, K.E., GATT, R., GRIMA, J.N., MILLER, W., RAVIRALA, N., SMITH, C.W. and ZIED, K. (2010). Elastic constants of 3-, 4- and 6-connected chiral and anti-chiral honeycombs subject to uniaxial in-plane loading. Composites Science and Technology, 70 (7), 1042-1048.

    MCDONALD, S.A., RAVIRALA, N., WITHERS, P.J. and ALDERSON, Andrew (2009). In situ three-dimensional x-ray microtomography of an auxetic foam under tension. Scripta Materialia, 60 (4), 232-235.

    ALDERSON, Andrew and EVANS, K E (2008). Deformation mechanisms leading to auxetic behaviour in the α-cristobalite and α-quartz structures of both silica and germania. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 21 (2), 025401.

  • Media

    Andy joined the University in 2013 from the University of Bolton. He is an experienced interviewee for print and broadcast media, mainly around the design and use of auxetic materials - which can be used for a variety of transport, advanced manufacturing and healthcare technologies, including in keyhole surgery. He is a co-inventor on 14 patent applications and has been involved in collaborative academia-industry research programmes worth almost £10M into smart and advanced materials having extreme or optimised properties.

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