Research and Development

ATL conducts research and development to find new material solutions. This page shows some recent examples of ATL's work in this area.

Reaction Engines Ltd.

ATL have been involved with Reaction Engines Ltd. in a number of projects with the aim of developing materials and engineering solutions for high temperature components within their Sabre engine. The Sabre engine is a dual mode air breathing/rocket propulsion system which is intended for use on the Skylon, an unpiloted, reusable space-plane intended to provide inexpensive and reliable access to space. The main aim of the projects has been to develop metallic and ceramic coatings and free standing structures which enable the operation of a novel high temperature heat exchanger.

JET Nuclear Fusion

In 2008 the experimental JET nuclear fusion reactor at Culham will change the plasma facing materials inside the tokamak to simulate those intended for use in the new 500MW pilot scale fusion reactor ITER which will be built in France over the next 10 years. ATL has been involved in supplying a number of tungsten and rhenium coated carbon composite panels as test materials for this application. ATL has also supplied tungsten coatings for other nuclear fusion test components within the ExtreMat project and other applications.


ExtreMat is an Integrated Project, co-funded by the European Community under the 6th Framework Program for Research and Technological Development. The project aims to develop materials for extreme environments in various application fields including nuclear fusion and advanced fission reactors, aerospace and high power electronics.

The project consortium comprises 37 institutions from 12 EU countries in a multi-sectorial approach involving universities, research centres and industrial companies. ExtreMat research comprises the areas “Self-passivating protection materials”, “Heat sink materials”, “Radiation-resistant materials” and “Materials system engineering” The project is coordinated by the Max Planck Institute in Munich.

ATL are working towards the development of plasma facing materials and diffusion barrier layers for fusion reactors; interlayers for joining dissimilar materials; oxidation resistant coatings for aerospace and coatings on metal matrix composite fillers for improved thermal conductivity in electronic substrates.

ATL’s involvement includes a variety of known CVD products and the development of new techniques. The coatings being used include erbium oxide, rhenium, tungsten, silicon carbide, silicon nitride, aluminium, tungsten silicide and other diffusion coatings involving aluminium and silicon.

EU and Government Funded

ATL participates in EU funded Framework R&D projects. We have a long & successful track record stretching back over 20 years.Projects successfully concluded in recent years include:

  • DEPAC New technique for the deposition of protective aluminide coatings on the internal surfaces of complex cooled industrial turbine blades.
  • PROTECT A New Process to Improve Gas Turbine Engine Performance by Thermal Barrier Coating Technology
  • ORDICO Modified Al and PtAl Diffusion Coatings with improved oxidation and thermomechanical fatigue life
  • NANOMAG Development of innovative nanocomposite coatings for magnesium casting protection.