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  Finer scale residual stress evaluation of irradiated joints of nuclear fusion alloys


   School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

  , , , ,  Wednesday, May 22, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The UK has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and recognises the significant potential of nuclear fusion as a sustainable and clean source of energy to support this ambitious goal. However, challenges persist in the design, manufacturing, and structural integrity of high value-added fusion in-vessel components. These components often use complex and dissimilar materials systems, joining geometry/interface and fabrication processes due to functional requirements of operating in extreme conditions (high temperature and thousands of cycles of long plasma pulse). Residual stress, induced by the thermo-physical property mismatch in joints, can significantly limit their service life. This triggers a need for thorough mechanistic understanding of the phenomena related to the integration of advanced materials, joining techniques and residual stress evaluation that drive materials degradation under fusion irradiation. The overall aim of this project is to develop and implement a new capability employing micro-/nano- mechanical techniques to examine the complex residual stress on the mechanical performance of joints subjected to harsh environmental conditions.

This project allows multidisciplinary collaboration between the University of Surrey and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy/United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (CCFE/UKAEA) to develop advanced measurement techniques and create new knowledge to address residual stress challenges for fusion materials, using complementary world-leading facilities in both parties. This will be performed within the multidisciplinary labs at Surrey (High temperature irradiation, advanced microscopy techniques) and the UKAEA Materials Research Facility (Plasma focused-ion beam, nanoindentation and XRD techniques). The successful applicant will be expected to spend 50% of their studentship at Surrey and 50% at UKAEA.

Supervisors: Dr Tan Sui, Dr Mark Whiting, Dr Nianhua Peng, Dr Samuel Waters and Dr Yiqiang Wang

Entry requirements

Open to candidates who pay UK/home rate fees. See UKCISA for further information. Only UK Higher Education “Home Fee” status applicants and EU residents satisfying the three-year residency requirement are eligible. Starting on 1 October 2024.

You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our Engineering Materials PhD programme.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least an Upper Second Bachelor’s degree, and preferably a Master’s degree, in an appropriate discipline (e.g. engineering, material sciences, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry or a related subject).

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Engineering Materials PhD programme page. In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for and the name of the relevant supervisor.


Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Materials Science (24)

Funding Notes

Fully and directly funded for this project only. Funding covers a stipend of £20,000 pa (tax free) and UK “home” tuition fees for 3.5 years. Funding is also available to cover travel, conferences and consumables.
Only UK Higher Education “Home Fee” status applicants and EU residents satisfying the three-year residency requirement are eligible.

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