Atom probe tomography and microscale mechanical testing of neutron irradiated Sizewell B reactor pressure vessel steel

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Materials


This project offers the unique opportunity for a student to study real surveillance material that has been neutron irradiated in the UK's only civil pressurised water reactor. Material has been irradiated in the Sizewell B pressurised water reactor for about 20 years in two conditions (as-fabricated and pre-strained). The project will use the new hot cells and active focus ion beam facilities at the Materials Research Facility (MRF) in Culham and the newly commissioned active materials atom probe facility at Oxford University. The student will learn how to become an atom probe user under the guidance of Prof Michael Moody and Dr Paul Bagot at Oxford's Materials Department. The aim of the project is to study how the neutron irradiation damage has evolved at the nano-scale and compare how microstructural changes, made by pre-straining the material, before irradiation, has changed the radiation response of the steel. This will be used to determine the dose-damage characteristics of the different microstructures, when used in conjunction with micromechanical testing. The student will also learn to use transmission electron microscopy to further characterise the microstructures and solute clusters and their interactions with defects such as dislocations. The micromechanical work will be done using the in-cell nano-indentation facility at MRF and may involve some micromechanical tensile tests with collaborators at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). This project will be part of a much wider network of UK and international collaborators working on the irradiation embrittlement of reactor steels to extend reactor lifetimes, which in turn saves tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere and helps the UK towards net zero carbon by 2050.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023844/1 31/03/2019 29/09/2027
2462093 Studentship EP/S023844/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Ryan Shaun Stroud