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PhD Studentship: Permeation of Hydrogen Isotopes into Fusion Reactor Materials

University of Birmingham - School of Chemistry and School of Metallurgy and Materials

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: A funded 3.5-year UK PhD studentship is available in the group of Dr Josh Makepeace within the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, with a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per year.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 6th December 2021
Closes: 2nd March 2022

This project is co-sponsored by UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) / Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) Research Centre. The fuel for future fusion reactors is the fusing of deuterium and tritium, two hydrogen isotopes. Deuterium can be readily extracted from sea water, but tritium, being radioactive, is very scarce. Hence an important requirement of future fusion reactors is that they are tritium self-sufficient; tritium must be generated in the breeder blankets surrounding the torus at a rate higher than it is burned-up in the fusion reactor.

However, tritium in these breeder blankets is able to permeate into the coolant, and other structures. This leads to a large loss of tritium, and potentially serious environmental contamination. Therefore, tritium permeation must be minimised.

This project aims to better understand the permeation of hydrogen isotopes into fusion reactor materials, including but not limited to: models of behaviour which best describe how permeation takes place through a/several composite layers, the effect of grain boundaries, microstructures and inclusions, and surface limited permeation regimes.

The project will make use of expertise and facilities at the University of Birmingham, such as hydrogen sorption measurements and alloy synthesis and processing. Other external facilities such as atom probe tomography, neutron diffraction and neutron reflectometry will help facilitate a greater understanding of surface and sub-surface hydrogen isotope behaviour at surfaces.

The candidate should have a 1st class Undergraduate or Masters degree (or equivalent) in Materials Science, Chemistry or related discipline. A background in microstructural characterisation and/or mechanical testing would be advantageous.

To Apply please provide (j.w.makepeace@bham.ac.uk): (1) A curriculum vitae (CV), (2) A Cover Letter summarising your research interests and suitability for the position, and (3) The contact details of two Referees. For more information on how to apply, please visit the link below: https://www.makepeacegroup.info/

A funded 3.5-year UK PhD studentship is available in the group of Dr Josh Makepeace within the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, with a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per year.

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