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PhD Studentship - Nano- and Micro-Mechanical Testing of Fusion Steel: the effect of Temperature and Strain Rate

The University of Manchester - Materials

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Manchester
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: tax free stipend at the UKVI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24) + Tuition fees will be paid
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 20th February 2024
Closes: 1st April 2024

Application deadline: 01/04/2024
Research theme: Materials for fusion
Department: Materials

This 3.5 year PhD is funded as part of UoM-NPL PhD/EngD scheme. Tuition fees will be paid and you will receive a tax free stipend set at the UKVI rate (£18,622 for 2023/24). We are able to offer a limited number of studentships to applicants outside the UK. Therefore, full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme.

Nuclear fusion can offer sustainable and reliable electricity. However, challenges associated with design, manufacturing and structural integrity of high value-added fusion components are yet to be overcome. The in-vessel components of a spherical tokamak for energy production will be subject to extreme conditions, including high heat fluxes and neutron irradiation. It is impossible to physically expose materials to these conditions until the first reactor becomes operational so the ability to understand the effect of this environment experimentally is limited to surrogate techniques with low certainty. In the absence of a comprehensive database of materials properties, predictive models and advance simulation techniques will be required. 

UKAEA is currently developing predictive models that are based on a mechanistic understanding of microstructure-mediated deformation and failure. The robust data of properties (dislocation slip, hardening law and microstructural evolution parameters) of individual constituents under as closest to fusion condition as possible are required. Instrumented indentation and related micro-mechanical testing are used for the measurement of highly spatially resolved mechanical response of materials. The project will contribute essential understanding and measurement of plasticity of iron based fusion alloys, including temperature, strain rate and irradiation effects via instrumented indentation, to qualify the crystal plasticity model performance.

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2.1 honours degree or a master’s (or international equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering related discipline.

Please contact the supervisors before you apply: Dr Ed Pickering and Dr Philipp Frankel ed.pickering@manchester.ac.uk philipp.frankel@manchester.ac.uk

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