Melissa Oum

School of Chemical Engineering                                                                      
Doctoral Researcher                

Melissa Oum


School of Chemical Engineering
University of Birmingham                              
Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT                                                                  
United Kingdom                                              


Melissa joined the Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells & Their Fuels’ PhD Programme in June 2015 and is based in the University of Birmingham, School of Chemical Engineering. Prior to this, she studied a Master of Engineering Degree at the University of Leeds.

Currently, as part of her PhD, Melissa is investigating degradation mechanisms related to interconnects oxidation for intermediate-temperature solid oxide fuel cells. Melissa’s motivation for renewable energy comes from a desire to see increasing world’s energy demands met without environment attrition. 


BEng. (Hons) in Chemical Engineering, University of Leeds 

MEng. (Hons) in Chemical Engineering, University of Leeds


After graduating in 2014 from The University of Leeds, Melissa spent a year in Industry as trainee chemical engineer. She then decided to pursue her doctoral research in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Fuel Cells with Professor Robert Steinberger-Wilckens.



Interconnects are important components of SOFCs due to their essential functions of current collector and electrodes physical separator. These roles explain the importance and sensitivity of the relation between the interconnect and adjacent components and restricts the possibilities of materials that can be used. Coated chromia-forming alloys are the current state-of-the-art materials being used as interconnects, but suffer from excessive oxidation rates detrimental to the interconnect electrical conductivity and adjacent cathode functioning.  Melissa’s approach is used thermodynamic and kinetic models coupled with experiments to provide an understanding of these degradation mechanisms and predict the service life of substrates.  By using modelling, constraints such as experimental time are reduced and flexibility over variables and parameters is greatly enhanced. 

Other activities

Melissa enjoys participating in renewable energy outreach activities and has held a fuel cell stand at the University of Birmingham community day during summer 2015 to raise awareness on the technology, but also to promote the Centre for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research.

Outside her research, Melissa is an active volunteer at the Birmingham Food Bank and enjoys writing. Her essay on “How does engineering contribute to the UK economy” was highly commended for the Engineering professor council 2014 student competition.