Dr Nicola Symonds

Unit Head


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About us

Learn more about our team

Get in touch

Who we are

We are a team within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (FEPS) at the University of Southampton. We have been providing consultancy services for customers seeking solutions in the fields of tribology, surface science and materials engineering since Oct 2015. Read more about us in the interview with Nicola.

As a Consultancy Unit within the University of Southampton, our core staff of professional engineers harness state-of-the-art test and analysis facilities. We have the agility and expertise to design each project individually to meet your requirements drawing upon internationally recognised academic experts as needed.


What we do

We can simulate abrasive, corrosive or erosive environments. We provide high quality material analysis, failure examinations, characterisation and applied research projects for a variety of industrial sectors including manufacturing, oil and gas, transport, sport and medical.

Engaging with us

From our first conversation, we will advise you in the strictest confidence. We have various working models to suit all types of industrial collaboration:

  • Fixed cost fully inclusive – suits small consultancy tasks
  • Per test rate – suits tribological testing work
  • Per day rate (capped) – ideal for investigations
  • External grants – for example from Innovate UK
  • Framework agreement – for large multi-package works


Meet the team

  • Director

    Nicola is internationally recognised for her failure investigation work in the aerospace and marine sectors. Her experience in failure analysis and sliding and friction measurements spans over 20 years.

    Failure Investigations
  • Senior Erosion Consultant

    JB specialises in abrasive and erosive wear testing. He has been supporting the energy sector and the oil and gas industries for over 10 years.

    Particulate Erosion Testing
  • Senior Corrosion Consultant

    Spencer leads cavitation, corrosion and environmental testing for the marine, defence and energy sectors. His experience in the field of corrosion control and cathodic protection spans over 15 years.

    Corrosion and Paint Testing
  • Senior Applied Research Consultant

    Ilaria focuses on industrial research and materials characterisation. Her coating deposition and rail sector research has been regularly published in international journals over the past 10 years.

    Applied Research
  • Technician

    Sam is the newest member of the team specialising in materials and tribology. Her work includes material preparation and analysis, running tribology testing equipment and managing the industrial laboratory.

    Materials characterisation