João Fonseca completed his PhD on the the mechanical behaviour of high volume fraction MMCs at the University of Leeds in 2001. He then moved to the School of Materials at the University of Manchester, where he became a lecturer in 2005 and a senior lecturer in 2011. He is currently active in a number of different research groups, including the Engineering and Process Metallurgy group and the Materials Performance Centre. He is a co-investigator in LATEST2, where he is leader of the formability theme.
His research interests are in understanding/modelling the mechanics of metals at the microscale and its impact on microstruture evolution and their performance in service. This work is based on the innovative use of established characterisation techniques like EBSD and neutron diffraction and the development of new techniques such as high resolution digital image correlation. This experimental work is underpinned by computational crystal plasticity modelling. The goal is to understand the limits of current continuum mechanics approaches and to develop new ways of overcoming them.
Current projects in LATEST2 aim to understand the limits of formability of high strength aluminium alloys and hexagonal metals like titanium and magnesium. He is also working on new models for the deformation of near particles in aluminium to help shed light on the efficiency of particle stimulated nucleation. Other research projects include understanding and modelling the microstructure evolution during thermomechanical processing of zirconium alloys, developing new models for non-proportional loading in steel, and characterising and modelling plasticity at notches in nickel superalloys and at the tips of environmental assisted cracks.
The importance of this fundamental research is recognised by industry and most of his work is funded by both suppliers and users in aerospace, energy and automotive sectors. Current industrial collaborators include Novelis, Constelium, TIMET, BaoSteel, Nippon Steel, Otto Fuchs, EdF, Westinghouse, Areva, Rolls-Royce and AMEC.