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 or 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).
Current PhD Opportunity in Characterization of Ceramic-matrix Composites under Extreme Conditions
Characterization of Ceramic-matrix Composites under Extreme Conditions
Applications are invited for a PhD project in the Experimental Mechanics of Advanced Materials Group (EMAM) at the School of Physics, University of Bristol to contribute to ceramics research. This studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years for home students according to the UKRI 2021/22 standard (support for tuition fees and a stipend of £15,609 per year).
Ceramic-Matrix Composites (CMCs) is considered to be one of the prime structural materials to replace metals for high temperature applications such as accident tolerant fuel cladding in nuclear reactor core (post Japanese Fukushima accident) or in an aerospace jet engine. However, there is still a lack of understanding in the failure modes of this class of ceramic-like materials under extreme conditions, for example, at high temperature and post neutron radiation. In this project, you will study the damage tolerance of a range of CMCs with novel designs provided by industrial collaborators in both nuclear and aerospace areas (e.g., Rolls Royce and US Westinghouse).
You will use synchrotron X-ray computed tomography, X-ray/neutron diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and micro-mechanical testing to acquire novel insight in the microstructure, stress-strain behaviour, residual stress evolution and defect development in these materials change with processing parameters and/or neutron irradiation. Ultimately you will develop a microstructure-based, multiple length-scale characterisation for these materials during your PhD.
Excellent team working skills are essential in this project as you will be working with other PhDs and Postdocs in the group on data analysis, collaboration on large-scale experiments (e.g., synchrotron facilities) in the UK, EU and USA, and you will be interacting directly with external industrial partners and deliver milestones in a timely manner. You should have a first or upper second-class (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in Materials, Physics, Chemistry or Engineering and the enthusiasm in ceramics.
Please submit your online application through Bristol formal online admission system and email the reference number to Dr Dong (Lilly) Liu: Dong.Liu@bristol.ac.uk for a speedy response.
Deadline for the applications is 21 March 2021.
Anticipated start date for this PhD project is late September 2021.