go to top scroll for more


Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/R030537/1
Title Bridging the gap between small scale mechanical testing and bulk material property measurements of advanced, structural nuclear materials
Status Started
Energy Categories Nuclear Fission and Fusion(Nuclear Fission, Nuclear supporting technologies) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr A Kareer
No email address given
University of Oxford
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 29 June 2018
End Date 28 July 2026
Duration 97 months
Total Grant Value £448,807
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region South East
Programme ISCF - Skills
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr A Kareer , Materials, University of Oxford (100.000%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Micro Materials Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , EURATOM/CCFE (0.000%)
Project Contact , University of Michigan, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , Regents of the University of California, Berkeley, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , Rolls-Royce PLC (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The development of next-generation fission plants require advanced structural materials for higher temperature reactors, fast-neutron Generation IV reactors and compact Small Modular Reactors (SMR's). Understanding and measuring the mechanical properties of these structural materials, and how they evolve under extreme conditions is crucial for their successful operation for large-scale carbon-free electricity generation. Traditional methods of mechanical testing (e.g. tensile testing, impact testing) are not straightforward when handling active materials. The use of hot cell facilities can be extremely costly, and safely handling the volumes of material required for such tests requires complex operational protocols. The use of energetic ions to emulate neutron irradiation damage can yield high damage rates with residual activity that is negligible (proton irradiation) or absent (heavy ion irradiation) and at a low cost. Although a useful tool, ion irradiation has challenges; The most significant challenge for mechanical property measurement arises because heavy ion irradiation penetrates only a very shallow depth into the material (approximately a few microns) and proton irradiation can achieve only slightly more (approximately tens of microns) - this is not adequate for traditional mechanical testing techniques. In addition to the volume being small, the damage level varies substantially through the thickness of the ion-irradiated layer. Hence there is a critical need for a reliable method of measuring the full mechanical response of these materials, from a small-scale technique and the principle subject of this research is to develop a micromechanical testing technique that can reliably measure the bulk mechanical properties, up to and beyond the yield point of nuclear materials.The proposed research is based on spherical indentation, an early micromechanical testing technique. Taking a step back from the more advanced techniques that have been developed in recent years, this method will eliminate the fabrication complexities associated with the current state-of-the art micromechanical techniques and provide a statistically rich, non-destructive and simple method of mechanical property measurement. Development of this method, will successfully allow the irradiation induced mechanical property changes to be measured from both reactor irradiated, and ion irradiated materials through a combination of experimental validation, computational modelling and advanced characterisation. In addition to this, the mechanical properties of nuclear materials at operating temperatures will be obtained, to understand how these materials will respond in service conditions.This work will primarily be carried out in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford working closely with the Materials for Fusion and Fission Power (MFFP) group consisting of talented scientists working on characterising and understanding irradiation damage in a range of nuclear materials. Experimental work on active material will be carried out at the Materials Research Facility (MRF) that is part of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE); this research will be carried out in close collaboration with the materials scientists working at the MRF who have substantial knowledge and expertise in irradiation damage of nuclear materials. Access to large specimens, for bulk mechanical property measurement that have been reactor irradiated, has been made possible through collaboration with the US. A research visit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory will feature in this Fellowship, to enable use of these materials in a world-class research facility. The Fellowship will form a crucial contribution to the Integrated Research Project, titled 'High Fidelity Ion Beam Simulation of High Dose Neutron Irradiation' and will measure the mechanical properties of the key materials of interest in the study.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 14/09/18