Dr David Collins

Dr David Collins

School of Metallurgy and Materials
Associate Professor

Contact details

School of Metallurgy and Materials
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

David Collins is an Associate Professor in the School of Metallurgy & Materials.

His research interests focus on manufacturing and processing methods related to advanced metal forming technologies with an interest in aerospace and automotive applications. David’s expertise is in physical metallurgy - incorporating the science that underpins metallic material behaviour. This includes deformation mechanics & microstructure/phase evolution, with many of his studies using state-of-the art in-situ synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction experimental methods. Along with electron microscopy characterisation and modelling methods, David’s studies target understanding at the crystal level to interpret, manipulate and exploit the material behaviour to improve performance at the component level.


  • PhD Materials Science, University of Cambridge, 2012
  • MEng Aerospace Materials, Imperial College London, 2008


David Collins graduated with a MEng in Aerospace Materials from Imperial College London in 2008. During his time as an undergraduate, he gained a Paneth Trust Award, Royal Astronomical Society (2006) to undertake a research project at the Natural History Museum, London, and an Armourers and Braziers’ Award (2007) to support a Rolls-Royce internship. His final year research project, supervised by David Dye and Richard Dashwood, was in the ‘Observation of in situ variant selection using synchrotron X-ray radiation of near equiatomic NiTi’.

Following David’s undergraduate studies, he completed his PhD at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, working in the Rolls-Royce UTC in the Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy under the supervision of Howard Stone. His thesis, entitled ‘Modelling and characterisation of precipitation and properties in a polycrystalline nickel-based superalloy’ was awarded in 2012. David developed a wide range of advanced X-ray diffraction, neutron scattering and modelling tools that were used to understand the behaviour of the microstructure and temporal properties at elevated temperatures observed during processing and service in the commercially used alloy, RR1000. During his PhD, he worked on projects that included: Rolls-Royce Corporation (Indianapolis, IN, USA), QuesTek, (Evanston, IL, USA), University of Michigan, NASA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Rolls-Royce, Derby.

From 2012, David joined the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford to work on an EPSRC funded project of ‘Strain path effects on forming of automotive steels’, primarily working with Angus Wilkinson, Richard Todd and Fionn Dunne. During this project, he was the PI of 6 beam time experiments, leading to key experiments at ISIS & Diamond. Notably, he designed and built a bespoke biaxial loading system for in-situ diffraction experiments; a world first. This achievement led to a ‘Recognition of excellence award’ from University of Oxford (2015) and an ‘iCar Early Career Research Prize’ (2016). During his time at Oxford, David was also a Lecturer at St Anne’s College where he was a tutor for Material Science.


David joined the School of Metallurgy & Materials, University of Birmingham as a Birmingham Fellow in 2017 to set up a new research group in advanced metal forming & processing

Postgraduate supervision

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Many metal processing methods are well established for the manufacture of components used widely in automotive and aerospace applications, however, the methods themselves are far from optimal. Dr Collins’ research focuses on understanding the behaviour of established and new engineering alloys during their manufacture and in-service performance. Through the discovery of the underlying science that governs deformation, his work aims to deliver step-change improvements in the performance of materials through advances in metal processing methods. This includes cold processing, including sheet forming operations such as stamping & pressing, and higher temperature thermomechanical methods. His current activities include Ni, Ti & Fe-based systems.

Current activities include:

-       Non-proportional cold forming of metals and alloys

-       Design of microstructure during processing of single crystal and polycrystalline nickel-base superalloys

-       Development of in-situ synchrotron & neutron (diffraction & diffuse scattering) characterisation methods to understand deformation and microstructural development


Selected publications include:

Collins, D.M., D’Souza, N., Panwisawas, C., In-situ neutron diffraction during stress relaxation of a single crystal nickel-base superalloy, Scripta Materialia 131 (2017) 103-107.

Collins, D.M., Erinosho, T., Dunne, F.P.E., Todd, R.I., Connolley, T., Mostafavi, M., Kupfer, H., Wilkinson, AJ., A synchrotron X-ray diffraction study of non-proportional strain-path effects, Acta Materialia 124 (2017) 290-304.

Collins, D.M. Mostafavi, M., Todd, R.I., Connolley, T., Wilkinson, A.J., A synchrotron X-ray diffraction study of in situ biaxial deformation, Acta Materialia 90 (2015) 46-58 2015.

Collins, D.M., Crudden, D.J., Alabort, E., Connolley, T., Reed R.C., Time-resolved synchrotron diffractometry of phase transformations in high strength nickel-based superalloys, Acta Materialia 94 (2015) 244-256.

Collins, D.M., Stone, H.J., A modelling approach to yield strength optimisation in a nickel-base superalloy, International Journal of Plasticity 54 (2014) 96-112.

Collins, D.M., Conduit, B.D., Stone, H.J., Hardy, M.C., Conduit, G.J., Mitchell, R.J., Grain growth behaviour during near-γ′ solvus thermal exposures in a polycrystalline nickel-base superalloy, Acta Materialia 61 (2013) 3378-3391.

Collins, D.M., Yan, L., Marquis, E.A., Connor, L.D, Ciardiello, J.J., Evans, A.D., Stone, H.J., Lattice misfit during ageing of a polycrystalline nickel-base superalloy, Acta Materialia 61 (2013) 7791-7804.

A full, up to date publication list can be found at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Collins22