We have opportunities for PGR study across a range of areas within the Materials and Devices Theme. Projects will become available throughout the year so do check to see if there are any new opportunities.
If you are interested in projects in Nuclear Energy Futures, please refer to the website for our joint CDT with Imperial College.
If you are interested in research with the Centre for Device Thermography and Reliability, you can find a list of open projects on their website.
Who to contact
If you are interested in any of our postgraduate opportunities, contact Dr Dong Liu.
Current PhD Opportunity in Diamond Materials for Fusion Technology
If you are interested in finding out more about this project or wish to discuss applying, please contact Dr Neil Fox email@example.com
Isotopic, Doped Diamond Materials as a Plasma-facing Material for Fusion Power
Nuclear fusion will make a significant contribution to the world’s high energy, low emission demands from the middle of the next decade. Recent announcements of over £300M from UK government to fund the Tritium handling facility H3AT and the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production programme, both based at the UKAEA’s Culham site underline the heightened level of activity being directed towards delivering fusion power to the national grid. In terms of energy production, even experimental fusion facilities are nearing break even, and concept designs for energy producing reactors are maturing worldwide. To improve upon this key parameter of energy gain, many factors need to be addressed, one of these being the fusion reactor layout and the structural materials used for the main components. To achieve successful commercialisation the cost of energy production must be minimised, here again materials are the biggest risk factor. Reactor materials also carry out the important job of ensuring that the fusion plasma is safely confined. The inner most wall in the reactor is known as the Plasma-facing Material (PfM) and must be designed to withstand plasma strikes and act as a heat sink for the intense radiation produced during fusion. Factors such as contamination. durability, thermal and electrical conductivity must be taken into consideration when selecting a PfM. Materials such as tungsten, beryllium and carbon-graphite materials have been used up until this point. Other areas where advanced material are required are the divertor and the breeder blankets. These are both harsh environments requiring materials with excellent thermal properties.
This research project aims to evaluate the use of isotopically pure, single crystal and polycrystalline diamond Schottky structures as a PFM. High quality diamond structures will be synthesised by chemical vapour deposition in the Bristol Diamond Laboratory, and their physical and electrical properties will be characterised using material analysis facilities at Bristol and the Materials Research Facility at Culham. The diamond structures will be infused with hydrogenic atoms by high temperature, high pressure processes conducted at Bristol and at Culham. The diamond PFM structures will be evaluated experimentally by neutron and H,D,T irradiations to simulate PFM operation using facilities at Culham and elsewhere. To support experimental work, model calculations using LAMPS and MCNP will be conducted in collaboration with UKAEA personnel.
This studentship is co-funded by EUROFusion and EPSRC’s Doctoral Training Partnership, Industrial and International Leverage Fund 2020/21
Current PhD Opportunity in Irradiation Creep Induced Nano-/Microstructure and Property Changes in Nuclear Graphite
If you are interested in finding out more about this project of wish to discuss applying, please contact Dr Dong (Lilly) Liu firstname.lastname@example.org
Irradiation Creep Induced Nano-/Microstructure and Property Changes in Nuclear Graphite
Nuclear graphite has been employed as a moderator and structural components in more than 100 nuclear reactors worldwide and they are also projected to use in new Generation IV high-temperature reactors (HTRs). Irradiation-induced creep, among one of the three most important properties of graphite under irradiation, has the least amount of experimental data due to its extremely complex and time-consuming requirements for irradiation tests. So far there are only irradiation creep data on three types of graphite grades: German ATR-2E (up to 200x1020 n·cm2), UK PGA and UK Gilsocarbon (up to 60x1020 n·cm2). In this project, the PhD student will have access to the precious neutron irradiated crept Gislocarbon graphite samples (irradiated in the 5-year ACCENT project and have extensive bulk PIE examination data available) to understand the irradiation creep-induced micro-/nano-structural changes before turnaround, to support the use of new graphites in HTRs internationally.
The PhD student will work closely with a Postdoc and another PhD student funded by NNL for a quick start of the project. This project is primarily experimental-based but the PhD student will have access to the NNL polycrystalline model to validate the measured results. Large-scale experiments using synchrotron diffraction and tomography at national labs (e.g., the UK Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the US Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) are essential for this PhD. Candidates with dedication and passion for nuclear materials are of interest.
This project provides full funding for home students (UK NNL and Nuclear Energy Futures CDT).