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Professor Fabrice Pierron

Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder, 2012-2017

University of Southampton

Imaging the mechanical properties of materials

Professor Fabrice Pierron held his Wolfson Research Merit Award at the University of Southampton. The award was used by the university to recruit Professor Pierron from École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers, France. The Wolfson Research Merit Award has now been superseded by the Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship which continues to promote the recruitment and retention of outstanding senior researchers to UK institutions.

Reducing their impact on the environment is a priority for most industries and sectors. Using lighter, stronger and environmentally friendlier engineering structures in transportation, energy generation and the built environment is a major step in achieving this objective. Professor Fabrice Pierron’s research aims to develop the tools to create such engineering structures.

All materials deform under load, which sometimes leads to the failure of engineering structures and systems. Understanding, modelling and testing these changes is therefore important in engineering. Professor’s Pierron’s research deals with a wide range of materials, from engineering metals (including welds) to polymers, composites, wood, foams, and concrete.

Using imaging systems like cameras, Professor Pierron is developing experimental procedures to assess how solids deform. These tools are now used routinely in mechanical testing labs in academia and industry. The outcomes are higher quality, more efficient and more cost effective materials for the design of car bodies, hip replacement implants or composite aerospace panels enabling lighter and safer structures.

Professor Pierron was recruited to University of Southampton from his previous institution in France with the aid of the Wolfson Research Merit Award. It enhanced his salary and covered the substantial difference in living expenses between France and the UK. The Wolfson Research Merit Award has been superseded by the Royal Society Wolfson Fellowship which continues to promote and support the recruitment and retention of outstanding senior scientists to the UK.

“The award has been instrumental to make my relocation to the UK a success and for this, I am very grateful to the Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society.”