Proton Irradiation Damage of Nuclear Materials

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Metallurgy and Materials


Structural materials used in nuclear reactors experience neutron irradiation during service and it is important to understand and eventually to be able to predict the microstructural evolution of the materials under service conditions. One such a material is the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) steel.
Previous work has shown that when exposed to irradiation, RPV steel dramatically changes its fracture toughness, becoming harder but more brittle. This was largely due to various precipitates formed including copper rich precipitates and/or nickel-manganese-rich precipitates, depending on the composition of the alloy and the irradiation. This project aims to study the effect of dose, dose rate and temperature of proton irradiation on the microstructure and resultant mechanical properties of RPV steel.
The project consists of the following parts:
1) Characterisation of the microstructure and mechanical properties of the materials before irradiation. Both the parent alloy and a SMA weld will be studied.
2) Proton irradiation at different dose rate, dosage and temperatures.
3) Post-irradiated microstructural characterisation using advanced electron microscopy techniques including high resolution STEM and EDS;
4) Post-irradiation small scale mechanical testing including nanoindentation and micro-compression.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1837261 Studentship EP/N509590/1 09/01/2017 08/01/2020 Joseph Tambini