PhD Studentship: Long Time-Scale Modelling of Radiation Damage in Nuclear Graphite

Loughborough University

Start date of studentship: 1st October 2018


Primary supervisor: Dr Kenny Jolley

Secondary supervisor: Prof Roger Smith

This project offers the chance to increase our understanding of nuclear graphite, which can have many implications including: improving nuclear reactor designs, and improving clean-up of irradiated graphite.  This project is also a good opportunity to develop skills in computer programming, the use of high performance computers facilities, and data analysis techniques.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Full Project Detail:

Graphite is a material that has widespread application in nuclear reactors, both with the old AGR reactors that are currently used by the UK and also in next generation power plants. After many years of exposure, irradiated graphite first contracts and then expands as defect damage builds up. In addition, the Wigner effect can also occur where concerted motion of groups of defects can cause severe heating as happened at Windscale in the 1950’s. Future reactor designs will rely upon a good understanding of the properties of nuclear graphite under high temperature and high irradiation. 

The motion of atoms over such long-time scales cannot be investigated by molecular dynamics, but information can be obtained by accelerated time scale techniques or adaptive kinetic Monte Carlo methods. The project will build upon previous work at Loughborough developing such techniques, and apply the methodology to the problem of radiation damage in nuclear graphite. The industrial partner is EDF.

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Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Applied Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: C/C++/Fortran/Python programming languages, Molecular Dynamics/ Monte Carlo simulations.

Funding information:

This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.

The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,553 (2017 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

Contact details:

Name:  Dr Kenny Jolley

Email address:

Telephone number: 01509 222554

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Department of Chemistry.  

Please quote reference number: KJ/CM/2018

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