Dr Nils Warnken

Dr Nils Warnken

School of Metallurgy and Materials
Senior Lecturer in Materials Modelling

Contact details

School of Metallurgy and Materials
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Nils Warnken is lecturer at the School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham.

His research interest is the study and modelling of phase-transformation in metals and alloys, with a special interest in solidification related phenomena.

Nils has published over 30 research papers in scientific journals as well as conference proceeding and book chapters.


Dipl. Ing. in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, RWTH-Aachen University, Germany, 2000

Dr. Ing. in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, RWTH-Aachen University, Germany, 2007

PGCert in Academic Practice, University of Birmingham, UK, 2015


Nils Warnken received his Dipl. Ing. (equivalent MEng) Metallurgy and Materials Engineering (Metallurgie und Werkstofftechnik) from RWTH-Aachen, University of Technology in 2000. During his degree he specialised in Casting Technology and developed an interest in microstructure formation, casting materials and modelling.

In 2000, after obtaining his degree, Nils joined the microstructure modelling group of ACCESS e.V., a privately owned research lab, formed as a spin-off from the foundry institute of the RWTH-Aachen. He was involved in the development of MICRESS, the first commercial implementation of the phase field method for the simulation of diffusion controlled microstructure formation in 2D and 3D. During this time Nils pioneered the modelling solidification and solution heat treatment of multicomponent alloys (eg. single crystal superalloys, Aluminium alloys). Besides his project work at ACCESS e.V., Nils worked towards his Dr.-Ing. (equivalent PhD), which was awarded in 2007 by RWTH-Aachen with summa cum laude (highest honours).

In 2007 Nils joined the PRISM2 centre at University of Birmingham as research fellow and technical manager. Here he continued his work on the phase field method, but also expanded into other areas such as computer based alloy development, thermodynamic modelling, oxidation of superalloys and process modelling of heat treatment. He was involved in supervision of PhD students and undergraduate projects and kept close ties with industrial partners.

In 2011 Nils was awarded a lectureship in materials modelling at the University of Birmingham. Here he continues to develop his microstructure modelling activities, using phase field, thermodynamic modelling and other techniques, but also works on modelling of mould filling and convection in castings, microstructure formation in solidification during additive manufacturing and conventional castings. Collaborations are maintained with the School of Chemistry and the School of Computer Science.


  • UG year 1 - Fundamentals of Materials Science (FMS)
  • UG year 3 - Control of Microstructure (COMa)

Android smart phone apps to support teaching (links to googleplay), developed in collaboration with Achim Jung from the School of Computer Science:

Postgraduate supervision

If you are interested in doing a project in the field of

PhD/EngD projects in:

  • Phase field modelling of
    • solidification
    • oxidation
  • Directional solidification of alloys
  • Microstructure formation during solidification of superalloys
  • Modelling of reactions between alloys and environment
  • Thermodynamic modelling (CALPHAD)

If you are interested in starting a PhD in any of these areas, please get in touch using the contact details provided above.


Research themes:

  • Phase-field modelling of microstructure evolution
  • Diffusion in multi-component alloys
  • Thermodynamics of metals and alloys
  • High temperature materials
  • Alloy development
  • Solidification
  • Phase separation in nano alloys

More details on Nils Warnken's research activities - past and present - can be found on the University of Birmingham research page.


Selected Publications:

Huang, J. L.; Warnken, N.; Gebelin, J.-C.; Strangwood, M.; Reed, R. C. (2012), On the mechanism of porosity formation during welding of titanium alloys, Acta Materialia, 60:1359-6454

Warnken, N.; Reed, R. C., (2011), On the Characterization of Directionally Solidified Dendritic Microstructures, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, 42A: 1675-1683

Mottura, A.; Warnken, N.; Miller, M. K.; Finnis, M. W.; Reed, R. C., (2010), Atom probe tomography analysis of the distribution of rhenium in nickel alloys, Acta Materialia, 58: 1359-6454

Warnken, N.; Ma, D.; Drevermann, A.; Reed, R. C.; Fries, S. G.; Steinbach, I., (2009), Phase-field modelling of as-cast microstructure evolution in nickel-based superalloys, Acta Materialia, 57: 1359-6454   

Reed, R. C.; Tao, T.; Warnken, N. (2009), Alloys-By-Design: Application to nickel-based single crystal superalloys, Acta Materialia, 57: 1359-6454 

Warnken, N.; Larsson, H.; Reed, R. C., (2009), Coupled modelling of solidification and solution heat treatment of advanced single crystal nickel base superalloy, Materials Science and Technology, 25: 0267-0836

Warnken, N; Drevermann, A; Ma, D; Fries, SG; Steinbach, I, (2008), Development of a simulation approach to microstructure evolution during solidification and homogenization using the phase field method, Superalloys 2008, ed. Reed, RC; Green, KA; Caron, P; Gabb, TP; Fahrmann, MG; Huron, ES, 951-960

Steinbach, I.; Boettger, B.; Eiken, J.; Warnken, N.; Fries, S. G. (2007), CALPHAD and phase-field modeling: A successful liaison, Journal of Phase Equilibria and Diffusion, 28: 1547-7037

Herzog, R.; Warnken, N.; Steinbach, I.; Hallstedt, B.; Walter, C.; Mueller, J.; Hajas, D.; Muenstermann, E.; Schneider, J. M.; Nickel, R.; Parkot, D.; Bobzin, K.; Lugscheider, E.; Bednarz, P.; Trunova, O.; Singheiser, L., (2006), Integrated approach for the development of advanced, coated gas turbine blades, Advanced Engineering Materials, 8: 1438-1656  

Warnken, N; Ma, D; Mathes, M; Steinbach, I, (2005), Investigation of eutectic island formation in SX superalloys Materials Science and Engineering-A, 413: 0921-5093

Walter, C; Hallstedt, B; Warnken, N, (2005), Simulation of the solidification of CMSX-4, Materials Science and Engineering-A, 397: 0921-5093

View all publications in research portal