Lucy Fielding, M.A., M.Eng. (Cantab)
Jesus College

University of Cambridge
Materials Science and Metallurgy
Pembroke Street, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, U.K.
+44 1223 334336

Lucy Fielding

Understanding the toughness and ductility of novel steels with mixed microstructures

Historically, mixed-microstructure steels have been produced as a result of incomplete transformation or continuous cooling. The resulting combinations of austenite, martensite and bainite were undesirable and usually performed poorly. However, when correctly designed, steels incorporating two or more structures can achieve properties that exceed those of single-microstructure alloys. In particular, the mixed-microstructure concept has been successfully exploited to produce ultra-high strength steels that can be mass-produced. These alloys, with tensile strengths exceeding 2 GPa, have enormous potential in the context of products that are beneficial to the environment.

My research focuses on steels containing very fine mixtures of bainitic ferrite and retained austenite. While the mechanisms that govern the strength of these alloys are reasonably well understood, the science behind the toughness and ductility is only now beginning to be explored. I hope to investigate experimentally how the microstructures of these alloys evolve during toughness tests, tensile tests and ballistic tests. Armed with an improved understanding of the properties, we aim to design new alloys with excellent combinations of strength, toughness and ductility. My ultimate aim is to build my own Iron Man suit. This work is jointly sponsored by the EPSRC and Tata Steel UK.

Other Interests

I am particularly interested in archaeometallurgy: using characterisation methods to understand how ancient cultures worked metal, what technologies they had access to and what techniques they used. From Incan bronze to Japanese swords to Damascus steel, solving the mysteries of ancient metals is fun!

Outside of metallurgy, I also study biomaterials and aerodynamics, and I like learning about biomimetics - reverse-engineering the natural world. I work a lot with composites and I am heavily involved in the Cambridge University Eco Racing solar car project as a design engineer.

I am a STEM ambassador and do lots of outreach work to encourage young people into science.


PT Group Materials Algorithms Materials Science and Metallurgy