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Probabilistic treatment of multi-scale residual stress and defects in fracture assessment of dissimilar joints for nuclear fusion


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr T Sui, Dr M Whiting  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Nuclear fusion can offer sustainable electricity. However, challenges in the design, manufacturing and structural integrity of high value-added fusion components are yet to be overcome. These components use complex materials systems, joining geometry/interface and fabrication processes to operate in extreme conditions (high temperature and thousands of cycles of long plasma pulse). The service life is limited due to the significant joining-induced residual stress (RS) by the thermo-physical property mismatch between joint parts. To contribute to the design and structural integrity assessment of the next fusion reactor by ~2030, the issues related to the integration of advanced materials, joining technique and structural integrity assessment need to be studied. Newly emerged state-of-the-art techniques are timely needed to examine the critical mechanical behaviour of brazed joints. Indentation (Micro-, Nano-) has been used to measure spatially resolved RS (such as thin metal layers and surface of bulk materials et al). This project aims to create fundamental understandings of multi-scale RS and their influence on mechanical performance of dissimilar joints via multi-scale indentation. The outcome of this project will provide a significant contribution to the design and structural integrity assessment of the next fusion power plant.

This project will establish a collaboration model to develop measurement technique and create new knowledge to address challenges for fusion materials. This will be performed within the multidisciplinary labs (in situ nanoindentation) at Surrey, Advanced Engineering Materials Team (standalone nanoindentation up to high temperature) at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Technology Department (larger-scale indentation) at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy/United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (CCFE/UKAEA). The successful applicant will be expected to spend time at each partner organisation.

This project is suitable for UK students (only UK fees covered). EU/International students are considered only if they can demonstrate exceptional achievements (e.g., publications, excellent academic performance, prizes, etc.).

Entry requirements

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, physics, chemistry or a related subject).

If English is not the first language, IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) is required, with no sub-test score less than 6.

How to apply

Application should be made through Engineering Materials PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab.

Please state clearly the studentship project that you would like to apply for and the name of your intended supervisor.

Application enquiries are recommended prior to submission and can be directly made to Dr Tan Sui ([Email Address Removed]) or to Hannah Zhang ([Email Address Removed]).

Start Date

October 2022


Funding Notes

Full UK tuition fees with automatic increase to UKRI rate each year.
A stipend of £18,609 per annum for 21/22, which will increase each year in line with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) rate with additional funds for travel, equipment and consumables.
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