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Understanding the role of helium in tritium breeder materials for fusion


   Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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  Dr A Gandy  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated individual who is interested in learning about how radiation affects materials for fusion applications.

We are offering an opportunity for a 3 1/2 year, fully-funded PhD at the University of Sheffield, in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The project is funded by the University of Sheffield and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

The aim of this project is to determine the effect of helium on the diffusion of tritium in Li-containing ceramic materials. Li-ceramics are candidates for the tritium breeder blanket material surrounding a fusion reactor core. In the breeder blanket, tritium will be produced by the transmutation of lithium following capture of a fusion neutron. The production of tritium also results in the formation of helium atoms. Little is known experimentally about how tritium and helium will interact at predicted breeder blanket operating temperatures, specifically, whether helium atoms will trap tritium and consequently reduce tritium diffusion/extraction out of the blanket. Reduction in tritium diffusion/extraction would reduce reactor efficiency and affect the life-time of the breeder blanket.

A programme of experiments, including irradiation experiments and state of the art characterisation techniques, will be employed to determine the dependence of breeder blanket composition and microstructure on helium-tritium interactions.

The successful applicant will work in the Immobilisation Science Laboratory at the University of Sheffield, a world-leading centre for nuclear materials research, alongside 40 other PhD students. In addition, the successful applicant will spend at least 6 months working at CCFE’s facilities in Oxfordshire during their studies.

Funding Notes

This project would suit a candidate with a 1st or 2:1 Bachelors or Masters degree in any of the following: materials science, chemistry or physics or related subjects.

To be eligible for the studentship, you must either be a U.K. citizen or a European Union national who has been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to starting the degree.

If English is not your first language then you must have International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component.
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