Thomas Breithaupt

Academic Profile


  • University of Oxford, MEarthSc, First Class Honours (2013 - 2017).
  • Masters Project: Low-temperature plasticity of plagioclase from indentation. Supervised by Lars Hansen, David Wallis and David Armstrong.

Low-temperature plasticity is an important deformation mechanism as it defines the plastic strength of materials at low-temperature and high stresses. Understanding low-temperature plasticity can also elucidate aspects of other dislocation accommodated deformation mechanisms. I used a combination of micro- and nano- indentation experiments to explore the low-temperature plasticity of plagioclase. I characterised the microstructure of deformation using high resolution electron backscatter diffraction to measure the elastic displacement gradient tensor, and inverting this tensor for the density of geometrically necessary dislocations (GNDs). In particular, I was interested in size effects in plagioclase which arise due to the density of GNDs. A flow law for low-temperature plasticity in plagioclase was fitted from the experimental data.

Awards & Scholarships

Finalist Scholarship for performance in finals from University College, Oxford (2017)

AWE Prize for best third year performance in geophysics (2016)

Academic Scholarship from University College, Oxford (2014-2017)

Current Research

For my D.Phil. research project I will be investigating the causes and consequences of viscous anisotropy. Viscous anisotropy may arise due to stress driven segregation of melt, generating a melt-preferred orientation (MPO), or due to the development of crystallographic-preferred orientation (CPO). As part of my D.Phil. I will model the development of MPO, and how it interacts with CPO, and the mechanical consequences of the fabric.