Dr Simon Gill

Simon GillReader in Mechanics of Materials,
Department of Engineering

Contact details

Department of Engineering
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH

T: +44 (0)116 252 5055
F: +44 (0)116 252 2525
E: spg3@le.ac.uk

Office: Room 214, Michael Atiyah Building

Personal details

My work is concerned with the development and application of novel numerical techniques for modelling the mechanics and evolution of material systems. I have strong interdisciplinary research interests in mechanics, applied maths, structural materials and condensed matter physics.

I obtained a BSc in Engineering Maths at Bristol University and a PhD in Applied Mathematics with Professor Frank Leslie FRS at Strathclyde University. I worked for one year for Professor Stephen Hawking FRS before working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Engineering Department at the University of Cambridge. I have enjoyed a sabbatical at Stanford University, and one year as a Royal Academy of Engineering-Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow.

I am director of the new IMPaCT doctoral training centre on Innovative Metals Processing based at Leicester, with our partners at the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham.


I have taught on a wide range of subjects including mechanics of structures, computer programming, design, management, computational methods and failure mechanisms. I am currently teaching the following modules:

  • EG2103 Mechanics of Structures
  • EG4123 Advanced Composite Mechanics
  • EG7101 Thermodynamics and Phase Diagrams
  • EG7102 Kinetics and Microstructure Modelling


Book chapters

H.V.Atkinson and S.P.A. Gill, ‘Modelling creep of nickel alloys in high temperature power plant’, Structural alloys for power plants, Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy, (Eds: A Shirzadi & S. Jackson, Elsevier, 2014).

S.P.A. Gill, ‘Nonequilibrium molecular dynamics and multiscale modelling of heat conduction in solids’, 53 pages, Trends in Computational Nanomechanics: Transcending Time and Space, Challenges and Advances in Computational Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 9 (Ed: T. Dumitrica, Springer, 2008).

S.P.A. Gill & H. Dong, “Creep resistant superalloys”, Materials Science and Materials Engineering (Elsevier Science Ltd, edited by Saleem Hashmi) 1845-1849 (2015).

Journal papers

S.P.A. Gill, “The stability of elastically strained nanorings and the formation of quantum dot molecules”, J. Mech. Phys. Solids 78, 94-109 (2015).

R. Krishna R, S.V. Hainsworth, S.P.A. Gill, H.V. Atkinson, “Effect of titanium carbonitride (Ti(C,N)) decomposition on failure mechanisms in Inconel 617 alloy”, Microsc Res Tech78(5):336-342 (2015).

S.P.A. Gill and M.W.J. Lewis ,”Fatigue tolerant design of rolling bearings”, Proc IMechE Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology (2015)  article online at http://pij.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/1350650115610358v1.pdf?ijkey=xvzyk51Jvw4zsg3&keytype=finite

R. Krishna, H.V. Atkinson, S.V. Hainsworth & S.P.A. Gill, “Gamma Prime Precipitation, Dislocation Densities and TiN in Creep-Exposed Inconel 617 Alloy”, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A ISSN 0360-2133 (2015).

S.P.A. Gill, G. McColvin, A. Strang, “Stress relaxation of nickel superalloy helical springs at high temperatures”, Mat Sci Eng A613 117-129 (2014).

D. Weston, S.P.A. Gill, M. Fay, S. J. Harris, G.N. Yap, D. Zhang, K. Dinsdale, ‘Nano-structure of Co-W Alloy Electrodeposited from Gluconate Bath’, Surface and Coatings Technology236, 75-83 (2013).

Gui-rong LI, Hong-ming WANG, Yun CAI, Yu-tao ZHAO, Jun-jie WANG and S.P.A. Gill, “Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of AZ91 Magnesium Alloy subject to Deep Cryogenic Treatments”, International Journal of Minerals, Metallurgy and Materials, 20, Issue 9, pp 896-901 (2013).

S.P.A. Gill “An energetic model for the direct formation and evolution of nanorings”, Journal of Applied Physics 113 154316 (2013).

S.P.A. Gill, “Controlling the Rayleigh instability of nanowires”, Applied Physics Letters 102 143108 (2013).

R. Krishna, S.V. Hainsworth, A. Strang, H.V.Atkinson and S.P.A. Gill, ‘Topologically close-packed Mu-phase precipitation in creep-exposed Inconel 617 alloy’, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A44, No. 3, 1419-1423 (2013).

P.J. Ennis, A. Strang, S.P.A. Gill, G.M. McColvin and H.V. Atkinson, ‘Microstructural stability of nickel-based alloys for advanced power plant applications’, Energy Materials, 4, No. 4, 184-188 (2012).

S.P.A. Gill, ‘An analytical model for the growth of quantum dots on ultra-thin substrates’, Appl. Phys. Lett, 98, No. 16, 161910 (2011).

T. Liu, S.P.A. Gill, H.V. Atkinson, ‘Modelling the in-service microstructural evolution of Ni-based superalloys for power generation’, Solid State Phenomena 172 766 (2011).

W. Niu, S.P.A. Gill, H. Dong, C.G. Bai, ‘A two scale model for predicting elastic properties of porous titanium formed with space holders’, Comp. Mat. Sci, 50, No. 1, 172-178 (2010).

S. Belyakov, H.V. Atkinson, S.P.A. Gill, ‘Crystallographically Faceted Void Formation in the Matrix of Lead-Free Solder Joints‘, Journal Of Electronic Materials 39 (8) 1295-1297 (2010).

K. Jolley and S.P.A. Gill, ‘Modelling transient heat conduction in solids at multiple length and time scales: A coupled non-equilibrium molecular dynamics/continuum approach’, J. Comp. Phys. 228 7412-7425 (2009)

S.P.A. Gill, ‘Pore migration under high temperature and stress gradients’, Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer 52 1123- 1131 (2009).

S.P.A. Gill and T. Wang, ‘On the existence of a critical perturbation amplitude for the Stranski-Krastanov transition’, Surface Science 602 No.23 3560-3568 (2008)

S.P.A. Gill, ‘Enhanced stability of coherently strained conical quantum dot arrays : beyond the small slope assumption’, Mathematics and Mechanics of Solids 14 635-666 (2009).

S.P.A. Gill, ‘A pseudo-atomistic model for nanoscale strain-controlled diffusion problems : the formation of heteroepitaxial alloyed quantum dot superlattices’, Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience 5 80-87 (2008)

S.P.A. Gill, ‘The effect of surface-stress on the concentration of stress at nanoscale surface flaws’, International Journal of Solids and Structures 44 7500-7509 (2007).

A.C.F. Cocks & S.P.A. Gill, ‘The influence of material anisotropy on the equilibrium shape of quantum dots’, Physical Review B 76 085328, 10 pages (2007).

S.P.A. Gill & P.E. Spencer, ‘Concurrent multiscale kinetic Monte Carlo-continuum models for the evolution of solids via diffusion’, Solid State Phenomena129 19-24 (2007).

S.P.A. Gill, ‘Enhanced elastic interactions between conical quantum dots’, Applied Physics Letters89 203115 (2006).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘An analytic model for the energetics of real quantum dots : beyond the small slope assumption’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London A462, 3523-3553 (2006)

S.P.A. Gill, Z. Jia, B. Leimkuhler and A.C.F. Cocks, ‘Rapid thermal equilibration in coarse-grained molecular dynamics’, Physical ReviewB 73,184304 (2006).

S.P.A. Gill, ‘Interfacial diffusion in a two-phase material accommodated by elastic relaxation’, Acta Materialia, 53, 3737-3749 (2005).

S.P.A. Gill, P.E. Spencer, A.C.F. Cocks, ‘Mixed KMC/Continuum models for Surface Diffusion’, International Journal of Multiscale Computational Engineering3, No. 2, 239-256 (2005).

D.M.Bruls, Koenraad P.M., Davies J.H., S.P.A.Gill, Long F., Hopkinson M., Skolnick M., Wolter J.H., Devreese J.T., ‘Direct composition profiling in III-V nanostructures by cross-sectional STM’, Institute Of Physics Conference Series, 171, 77-84 (2003).

S.P.A. Gill, P.E. Spencer, A.C.F. Cocks, ‘A Hybrid Continuum/Kinetic Monte Carlo Model For Surface Diffusion’, Materials Science and Engineering A365, 66-72 (2004).

Koenraad P.M., Bruls D.M., Davies J.H., S.P.A.,Gill Long F., Hopkinson M., Skolnick M., Wolter J.H. , ‘Composition profiling at the atomic scale in III-V nanostructures by cross-sectional STM’, Physica E, 17 (1-4): 526-532 (2003).

S.P.A. Gill, ‘Self-organised growth on strained substrates: the influence of anisotropic strain, surface energy and surface diffusivity’, Thin Solid Films, 423, 136-145 (2003).

S. P. A. Gill, F. Long and A.C.F. Cocks, ‘A multi-component model for the growth and relaxation of epitaxial thin films’, Current Issues In Heteroepitaxial Growth-Stress Relaxation And Self Assembly, Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings 696 169-174 (2002).

D.M. Bruls, J.W.A.M. Vugs, H.W.M. Salermink, P.M. Koenraad, J.H. Wolter, M.S. Skolnick, M. Hopkinson, F. Long, and S.P.A. Gill, ‘Determination of the shape and indium distribution of low-growth-rate InAs quantum dots by cross-sectional scanning tunneling microscopy’, Applied Physics Letters81, No. 9, 1708-1710 (2002).

S.P.A. Gill, H. Gao, V. Ramswamy and W.D. Nix, ‘Confined capillary stresses during the initial growth of thin films on amorphous substrates’, Journal of Applied Mechanics, 69, 425-432 (2002).

F. Long, S.P.A. Gill and A.C.F. Cocks, ‘Effect of surface-energy anisotropy on the kinetics of quantum dot formation’, Physical. Review B 64 (12), 1307-1310 (2001).

S.P.A. Gill, M.G. Cornforth and A.C.F. Cocks, ‘Modelling microstructure evolution in engineering materials’, International Journal of Plasticity 17, 669-690 (2001).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘Microstructural evolution in precipitate strengthened materials’, Modelling of Microstructural Evolution in Creep Resistant Materials3, pp 51-64 (1999).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘The relaxation of epitaxial islands’, Journal de Physique IV France9, pp PR83-94 (1999).

A.C.F. Cocks, S.P.A. Gill & J. Pan, ‘Modelling of microstructural evolution’, Advances in Applied Mechanics, 36, pp 81-162 (1999).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘An investigation of mean-field theories for normal grain growth’, Philosophical Magazine A75, No. 2, pp 301 (1997).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘A short note on a variational approach to normal grain growth’, Scripta Materialia35, pp 9 (1996).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘A variational approach to two-dimensional grain growth - II. Numerical Results’, Acta Materialia44, No.12, pp 4777 (1996).

A.C.F. Cocks & S.P.A. Gill, ‘A variational approach to two-dimensional grain growth - I. Theory’, Acta Materialia44, No.12, pp 4765 (1996).

S.P.A. Gill & F.M. Leslie, ‘Some topics in continuum theory for smectic liquid crystals’, Ferroelectrics148, pp 11-24 (1993).

S.P.A. Gill & F.M. Leslie, ‘The response of smectic C, C*, CM and CM* liquid crystals to an applied shear and an external magnetic field’, Liquid Crystals14, pp 1905-1923 (1993).

S.P.A. Gill & F.M. Leslie, ‘Reflection and refraction of an obliquely incident shear wave at a solid-smectic liquid crystal interface’, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids40, pp 1485-1493 (1992).

Conference proceedings

S.P.A.Gill, ’The novel energetics of the 2D-3D transition in GaAs/InAs(100)’, Proceedings of the IUTAM Symposium on Surface Effects in the Mechanics of Nanomaterials and Heterostructures, Springer Press (2012).

R. Krishna, S.V. Hainsworth, S.P.A. Gill, A. Strang and H. V. Atkinson, ‘Microstructural evolution in creep exposed IN617’, CREEP & FRACTURE IN HIGH TEMPERATURE COMPONENTS: DESIGN & LIFE ASSESSMENT ISSUES, PROCEEDINGS, pg 1223-1235 (2009)

K. Jolley and S.P.A. Gill, ‘Atomistic/continuum models for multiscale heat conduction’, 4th International Multiscale Materials Modelling conference, Tallahasse, Florida (2008).

K. Jolley and S.P.A. Gill, ‘Modelling transient heat conduction at multiple length and time scales : a coupled non-equilibrium molecular dynamics/continuum approach’, IUTAM Symposium on Modelling Nanomaterials and Nanosystem, Springer Science Series (Aalborg, Denmark, May 2008)

S.P.A. Gill and K. Jolley, ‘Compatible continuum and atomistic models of surface diffusion’, 2nd International Conference on Heterogeneous Material Mechanics, 266-271 (Huangshan, China, Jun 2008)

S.P.A. Gill and K. Jolley, ‘A combined atomistic/continuum method for thermoelastic problems’, 3rd International Multiscale Materials Modelling conference, Freiburg, Germany (2006).

S.P.A. Gill & P.E. Spencer, ‘Concurrent multiscale kinetic Monte Carlo-continuum models for the evolution of solids via diffusion’, European Materials Research Society Fall conference, Warsaw, Poland (2006).

S.P.A. Gill, P.E. Spencer, A.C.F. Cocks, ‘Mixed KMC/Continuum models for Surface Diffusion’, 1st International Conference on Heterogeneous Material Mechanics (Chongqing, China, Jun 2004).

S.P.A. Gill, P.E. Spencer, A.C.F. Cocks, ‘A Hybrid Continuum/Kinetic Monte Carlo Model For Surface Diffusion’, 1st International Conference on Multiscale Materials Modelling (London, Jun 2002).

D.M. Bruls, Koenraad PM, Davies JH, S.P.A.Gill, Long F, Hopkinson M, Skolnick M, Wolter JH, Devreese JT , ‘Direct composition profiling in III-V nanostructures by cross-sectional STM’, 3rd International Conference on Particle Physics Beyond the Standard Model (Finland, Jun 2002).

Koenraad PM, Bruls DM, Davies JH, S.P.A.Gill, Long F, Hopkinson M, Skolnick M, Wolter JH , ‘Composition profiling at the atomic scale in III-V nanostructures by cross-sectional STM’, International Conference on Superlattices Nano-Structures and Nano-Devices (Toulouse, Jul 2002).

D.M. Bruls, P.M. Koenraad, T. Reusch, M. Kemerink, M. Hopkinson, M.S. Skolnick, Fei Long, S.P.A. Gill, J.H. Wolter, H.W.M. Salermink, ‘Determination of the shape and composition of InAs quantum dots at the atomic level by cross-sectional STM’, 11th International Conference on Scanning Tunneling Microscopy/Spectroscopy and Related Techniques (Vancouver, 2001)

A.C.F. Cocks & S.P.A. Gill, ‘Strategies for modelling microstructure evolution in engineering materials’, pp 125-128, 7th International Symposium on Plasticity and Its Current Applications (Cancun, Mexico, Jan. 1999).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘Microstructural evolution in precipitate strengthened materials’, Modelling of Microstructural Evolution in Creep Resistant Materials conference (London, Sep 1998).

S.P.A. Gill & A.C.F. Cocks, ‘The relaxation of epitaxial islands’, 3rd European Mechanics of Materials Conference on Mechanics and Multi-Physics Processes in Solid - Experiments, Modelling, Applications, 12 pages (Oxford, Nov. 1998).

S.P.A. Gill and A.C.F. Cocks, ‘A variational approach to materials modelling’, Proceedings of CIMTEC ‘98, 8 pages (Florence, June 1998).

S.I.Hogg, S.P.A. Gill & C.J.Morrison, ‘An approach to teaching engineering design - a walking robot case study’, Proceedings of the 19th Annual Design Conference, pp 92-99, (Hull, June 1997).

F.M. Leslie & S.P.A. Gill, ‘Damped periodic fluctuations in certain smectic liquid crystals’, IUTAM Symposium on Anisotropy, Inhomogeneity and Nonlinearity in Solid Mechanics, 133 (1995).

S.P.A. Gill & F.M. Leslie, ‘Reflection and refraction of an obliquely incident shear wave at a solid-smectic liquid crystal interface’, Conference On Elastic Waves And Related Topics (Dublin, Nov 1991)


My research interests cover a range of academic and applied activities. Work on the fundamental understanding of microstructural processes in structural materials includes modelling of:

  • Non-equilibrium molecular dynamics
  • Rapid solidification in metallic alloys
  • Formation of electrodeposited, hard alloy coatings
  • Evolution of porous structures in nuclear materials
  • Diffusive crack growth along grain boundaries
  • Normal and abnormal grain growth
  • Diffusion creep in geological materials

I have collaborated with many industrial partners, including Alstom Power, National Physics Laboratory, QinetiQ, Doosan Babcock, E.On and the National Tribology Centre. This industrially-led work includes:

  • Modelling phase transformations in nickel-based superalloys
  • Development of constitutive models for the creep of nickel-based superalloys
  • Modelling stress relaxation in springs
  • Analysis of the fatigue tolerance of rolling bearings

I am also interested in the mechanics and morphology of nanostructures, especially under the influence of elastic strain. This work is in the context of the development of new multiscale modelling techniques, including both continuum and atomistic representations of a material. Areas of application include:

  • Self-organisation of quantum dots, particularly in the SiGe and InGaAs systems
  • Spontaneous formation of nanorings and quantum dot molecules
  • Stability of nanowires
  • Formation of nanostructured thin films
  • Evolution of stresses in condensing thin metal films
  • Grain boundary relaxation in thin metal films


A novel pseudo-atomistic simulation of the growth, relaxation and capping of alloyed heteroepitaxial quantum dots showing compositional profiles at three different times. One atomic species (blue) is deposited upon another (red). They have the same crystallographic structure but different lattice spacing. The lattice mismatch strain is relaxed by intermixing (green) and morphological change (via surface diffusion). Initially pyramidal quantum dots are formed. These are then capped by further deposition of the substrate material. The top of the embedded pyramids dissolves into the matrix to form truncated pyramids. Further deposition of another layer of capped quantum dots results in a layered structure of vertically-aligned dots. The formation of this metastable structure is due to a complex interaction between the kinetics and energetics of the system.

Post-doctoral research assistants

  • Dr. Fei Long – Growth modes and relaxation mechanisms in epitaxial thin films, EPSRC project
  • Dr. Paul Spencer, A mixed atomistic and continuum model for crossing multiple length and time scales, EPSRC project
  • Dr. Qiang Du, Improved Modelling of Material Properties for Higher Efficiency Power Plant, TSB grant
  • Dr. Tianxiang Liu, , Improved Modelling of Material Properties for Higher Efficiency Power Plant, TSB grant


EU/home students can apply for fully funded PhD studentships in Innovative Metal Processing at impact.ac.uk.

Previous supervisions

  • Dr Mark Cornforth, Variational models for the kinetics of phase transformations
  • Dr Tong Wang, Multiscale modelling of heteroepitaxial thin films
  • Dr Mark Fuller, Smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) for solid mechanics
  • Dr Kenny Jolley, Multiscale methods for nanoengineering
  • Caroline Meaking, Biomechanical analysis of hip failure (ongoing)
  • Mazin Al-Isawi, Impact of composite laminates (ongoing)
  • Dhuha Albusalih, Modelling the mechanics of nanostructures (ongoing)
  • Marc-Antony Coster, Stress relaxation in nickel-based superalloy springs (ongoing)
  • Christopher Campbell, Modelling of length-scale plasticity (ongoing)
  • Ishan Fernando, Modelling of hot cracking in niobium silicide alloys (ongoing)
  • Bogdan Nenchev, Simulation of mechanical deformation during dendritic solidification (ongoing)

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