PhD Studentship: Thermo-Mechanical Property Measurement of Nuclear Graphites at Elevated Temperatures

University of Oxford - Department of Materials

T J Marrow

This EPSRC iCASE project with the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) aims to understand the thermo-mechanical properties of nuclear graphites at elevated temperatures (up to 850°C) that are relevant to current and future nuclear systems.

The experimental studies will investigate the relationships between applied total strains (tensile and compressive, measured by image correlation in 2-D and 3-D) and the elastic strains in the graphite crystals (measured, for instance, by synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction).

The local effects on microstructure and its properties will be examined by correlative Focussed-Ion Beam (FIB) tomography, electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and micromechanical testing at ambient and elevated temperatures. These studies aim to understand how tensile and compressive deformations are accommodated by competing mechanisms such as micro cracking, basal slip and twinning, and what effects this may have on the coefficient of thermal expansion.

These data will provide inputs for non-linear finite element modelling of the behaviour of graphites at elevated temperatures. The objective is to validate micro-mechanistic models for graphite deformation, and to provide the foundations for future work on irradiated graphites. During the secondment with the sponsor, the student will engage with NNL's work on modelling and property measurement of irradiated graphites.

Candidates are considered in the January 2018 admissions cycle which has an application deadline of 19 January 2018.

This is a 4-year EPSRC Industrial CASE studentship in conjunction with NNL and will provide full fees and maintenance for a student who has home fee status (this includes an EU student who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study). The stipend will be at least £16,553 per year. Other EU students should read the guidance at for further information about eligibility.

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Professor James Marrow ( General enquiries on how to apply can be made by email to You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies. Further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at

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