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Understanding Oxidation Behaviours of Tungsten Alloys for Nuclear Fusion Reactors.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, April 30, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project description Tungsten is one of the leading candidates for plasma facing materials (PFMs) in nuclear fusion reactors to protect the vessels and superconducting magnets against the high thermal load and particle impact in the vicinity of the divertor. However, the poor oxidation resistance of pure tungsten raises an important safety concern in the event of an accidental loss of coolant together with simultaneous air ingress into the reactor vessel. In this scenario, tungsten would undergo fast oxidation with the release of volatile and radioactively activated tungsten oxides.

A strategical approach to mitigate this risk is to develop self-passivating tungsten alloys with the capability to form protective scales upon thermal exposure to oxygen-containing environment. A few studies in the literature have shown that formation of protective oxide scales could occur on tungsten through selective oxidation when certain types of alloying elements are added into the tungsten matrix. Nevertheless, the studies are extremely limited in quantity, breadth and depth, which significantly limits our understanding of the oxidation of the tungsten alloys and retards the subsequent development of oxidation-resistant tungsten alloys.

The objective of this project is to design oxidation-resistant tungsten alloys under the guidance of thermodynamic computations and verified by experiments. The oxidation behaviours of the alloys in the conditions relevant to those in the event of loss of coolant and air ingress in fusion reactors will be studied using the world-leading analytical tools in Manchester as well as computational modelling. The project is expected to develop scientific foundation and material solutions for future fusion reactors.

Funding Notes

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, Chemistry or related disciplines.

This project is being considered for DTA funding. This would provide a full fee waiver and a EPSRC minimum stipend. International applicants are welcome to apply but will require access to self-funding.

Related Subjects

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?
Metallurgy and Materials

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.00

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

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