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Nuclear applications for graphite materials

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The objective of this work is to deliver science and innovation in advanced graphite materials for nuclear applications, thereby driving impact and economic benefit for the UK in this area. Nuclear activity can be split into two areas: nuclear fuels and waste streams in the nuclear fuel cycle as well as structural materials for fission and fusion energy. The nuclear graphite currently utilised in the UK reactor fleet must be decontaminated and processed for long term safe storage. The diversity and complexity of the graphite materials used poses a unique and complex challenge. Generation IV or next generation reactors are being developed internationally to deliver a new era of nuclear power. They are motivated by a variety of goals including improved safety through passively safe graphite systems, improved economics through the use of small modular designs as well as sustainability and efficiency. Graphite forms an essential part of these designs and new grades must be developed for use in these highly demanding environments. Nuclear fusion is one of the most promising options for generating large amounts of carbon-free energy in the future. Fusion is the process that heats the Sun and all other stars, where atomic nuclei collide together and release energy. To achieve this, highly specialised containment systems for the high temperature plasma must be developed which uses graphite as an integral component.

As a contributing member of our group you will work on aspects of this research which complement your own experience and expertise. The project is multi-disciplinary, bringing together fundamental chemistry, process modelling and engineering design. Thus we aim to involve researchers from a wide range of disciplines including chemistry, chemical engineering and computer modelling. Only by considering all of these elements and working together as a team can we develop and implement graphite based solutions for the nuclear industry. This work will be strengthened by the newly developed Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials.

Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science or education discipline. Candidates with Masters level are preferred, but exceptional candidates at Bachelors level can also be considered.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funded basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates will be eligible to be considered for a University scholarship.


How good is research at University of Manchester in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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