News Archive (2013-2015)

09/11/15 - "Testing the thermal tolerance of the fusion reactors of the future"

Research by Felix Hofmann, CCFE and the MFFP group features in Oxford University's news pages. Felix has developed a non-contact laser-based method to measure thermal conductivity of thin layers, and used it to quantify changes in thermal properties of ion-irradiated tungsten.

03/11/15: Ed Tarleton awarded EPSRC Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr Edmund Tarleton who has been awarded a five year EPSRC Fellowship starting on 1st November 2015. Ed will be focussing his work on “Dislocation-based modelling of deformation and fracture in real engineering alloys”.

30/10/15: Steve Roberts visits Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory

At a meeting of the NEUP/IRP - EPSRC project "High -Fidelity
Simulation of Neutron Irradiation", the newly-refurbished Michigan Ion
Beam Laboratory (MIBL) was "re-dedicated". The result of a 18-month ground-up rebuild is a very versatile high flux triple-beam ion irradiation facillty, targeted at nuclear materials research.

30/09/15: Last day of the EPSRC MFFP Programme grant

The large EPSRC grant that has underpinned our work in Fusion and Fission materials , which started in December 2009, came to an end today. Since the grant started, the number of students and postdocs in the field at Oxford Materials has gone from fewer than 5 to around 60; and thanks to various other projects that it has triggered, we are still
on an upward curve. This poster presented at the recent EPSRC review of Fission and Fusion research summarises some of the project's achievements.

28/09/15: MFFP September Workshop: "Irradiation Effects in Materials"

Photographs from the meeting, taken by Jack Haley, are now available here.

04/08/15: MFFP September Workshop: "Irradiation Effects in Materials"

The MFFP group is organising a three-day workshop in Oxford on Irradiation Effects in Materials, 23-25 September 2015.
The theme of the meeting will be to consider the influence of different
irradiation types – neutrons, ions (single and multi beam), protons;
and irradiation parameters – dose, dose rate, temperature – on the
resultant microstructures and properties.

The meeting is centred on about a dozen keynote lectures (50
minutes) and two substantial poster sessions where "work in progress"
will be reported. The meeting is low cost, so as to encourage
participation from active research students and postdocs.

More information, including meeting timetable.  

Registration is now closed.

13/04/15: ODISSEUS workshop, March 2015

Presentations from the workshop are now available at

12/02/15: MFFP in "Materials World"

The "showcase" meeting (10/12/2014) for the MFFP research featured in the February 2015 issue of the IOM3 journal Materials World.

19/01/15: ODISSEUS workshop, March 2015

A two day student workshop in Oxford focussing on all aspects on ODS
(Oxide Dispersion Strengthened) steels, commencing on Monday 23rd March

Presentations and discussion topics will cover a wide spectrum of
topics including: manufacturing and processing, microstructural
evolution and mechanical testing.

See for more information and to register.

12/12/14: MFFP "Showcase" meeting

The Materials for Fusion and Fission Power (MFFP) project, with core
funding from an EPSRC programme grant, has been operational since 2009.
This one-day event on 10th December 2014 showcased advances made in the
project, and discussed applications in future nuclear research and

Over 80 people attended the meeting. Further information, including copies of the presentations, may be found here.

20/10/14- Anna Kareer joins MFFP group.

Anna will be working on the USA / UK collaborative project "High
Fidelity Ion Beam Simulation of High Dose Neutron Irradiation",
specialising in  micromechanical characterisation of irradiated

18/10/14: Workshop on Zirconium for Nuclear Applications

10/10/14: Welcome to new MFFP researchers!

We've been joined by:  Jack Haley, Robbie Abernethy, Sarah Connolly,
Glenn Jones and Ed Rowe (new doctoral students); Alannah Hawesford, John
Waite, Robert Hamlet and Catherine Hildersley (final year project

21/8/14: Workshop on Zirconium for Nuclear Applications

The MFFP group is organising a two-day workshop in Oxford on Zirconium for Nuclear Applications, 29-30 September 2014.

The meeting is centred on about a dozen keynote lectures (50 minutes)
and two substantial poster sessions where "work in progress" will be
reported. The meeting is low cost, so as to encourage participation from
active research students and postdocs.

For further information, see here.

24/4/14: Small-scale group outing

"Small-scale" because (a) only 7 of us went (one car-full!), (b) we
didn't go very far (Nuneham Courtney), and (c) we didn't stay very long
(about an hour). But it was good to see the bluebells at the University
Arboretum in full bloom, and to stalk the peacocks.

26/3/14: JANNuS in-situ TEM irradiation & annealing experiments approved

An application to the EMIR panel for 5 days of microscope and beam time at the JANNuS Orsay facility
to perform in-situ He+ and W+ irradiation TEM of tungsten at high
temperatures has been approved as "A+ priority". Congratulations to
Francesco Ferroni, Philip Edmondson and Xiaoou Yi for putting together
an excellent proposal.

21/03/14: Mecano meeting

There was a strong presence from the MFFP group at the CNRS Gradschool "Solid Mechanics for Nanoscientists":
Katie Plummer, Helen Pratt, Bo-Shuan Li and Luke Hewitt all attended.
"There have been some amazing novel techniques spoken about..."

6/3/14: "Nellie" lives again

One of the group's most vintage pieces of equipment, our
high-temperature microhardness tester (commissioned 1986), has been
revived and is being used for testing tungsten and molybdenum. Up to
800°C so far, but the machine is in principle capable of 1500°C, so
there will be more to come.

27/1/14: Vacancy: Postdoctoral research assistant in micromechanical testing of nuclear materials

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position in micromechanical
testing of nuclear materials, to investigate the utility of ion
irradiation as a proxy for neutron irradiation in the study of the
effects of radiation damage on the structure and properties of nuclear
materials. For further details see here; but applications for this vacancy closed on 20/2/14.

2/12/13: Visit to KIT

Dave and James recently visited our collaborators at Karlsruhe
Institute of Technology in Germany. This is them touring the hot cells
where work on our neutron irradiated tungsten is being performed.


11/11/13: MFFP research at the APS

David Collins and Ed Tarleton are working at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory this week. They sent us a picture.

18/10/13: Group photo

Quite a few people couldn't make it - but I think we still have 49 in the picture, taken after the Friday group meeting.

07/10/13: New academic year, new arrivals

Welcome to our new graduate research students in various aspects of
"Materials for Fusion and Fission Power": Bo-Shiuan Li, Yeli Guma, Helen
Pratt, Luke Hewitt, Selim Barhli, Junnan Jiang, Alasdair Morrison, and
James Sayers.

28/9/13: Two Fellowships in Nuclear Materials

Congratulations to Phil Edmondson and Dave Armstrong
for their recently announced fellowship awards. Phil won a 5-year
EPSRC Nuclear Fellowship to study Fundamentals of the Behaviour of
Fission Products in Oxide Nuclear Fuels and Dave a 5-year Royal Academy
of Engineering fellowship on Micro-Engineering Advanced Alloys for
Extreme Nuclear Power Environments.

06/09/13: MFFP student in final 3 for SET award.

Luke Hanna, who did his final year ("Part 2") project on atom-probe tomography of tungsten-tantalum alloys, is in the final three for this year's UK SET award in materials.
The winner was decided on 26th September; unfortunately Luke didn't get
the prize; but being in the national top three is still very good!

04/09/13: New paper on ODS alloys

An in-situ powder neutron diffraction study of nano-precipitate
formation during processing of oxide-dispersion-strengthened ferritic
steels, H. Zhang, M.J. Gorley, K.B. Chong, M.E. Fitzpatrick, S.G.
Roberts, P.S. Grant: J. Alloys & Compounds, in press, 2013: DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2013.08.069

The evolution of phases in a Fe-14Cr-10Y2O3
(wt.%) oxide-dispersion-strengthened ferritic steel during mechanical
alloying (MA) and subsequent annealing was studied by high resolution
powder neutron diffraction, with emphasis on the kinetics of oxide-based
nanoprecipitate formation. Y2O3 particles were
completely dissolved into the ferritic matrix during MA. The formation
of nano-precipitates was then observed by in-situ thermo-diffraction
experiments during annealing of as-milled powder above 900°C, supported
by scanning electron microscopy. This revealed nano-precipitate
coarsening with increasing annealing temperature. Powder microhardness
was measured at various processing stages, and hardness changes are
discussed in terms of the measured phase fractions, crystallite size and
lattice strain at different temperatures and times.

02/09/13: September workshops: "Tungsten" and "Modelling"

Two workshops will be run this year, in the week 23-27 September:

Registration fees are now "late registrations" at £50 higher cost. But the workshops are still good value...

27/6/13: New Paper: Effects of sequential tungsten and helium ion implantation on nano-indentation hardness of tungsten

In this paper the dramatic effect that helium implantation can have
on the nano-hardness of tungsten is investigated using nanoindentation.
This has much relevance to the use of tungsten for plasma facing
components in tokamaks. The full paper is here

13/6/13: Ele Grieveson wins prize.

Ele Grieveson (3rd year D.Phil. student) has won "Best Student Paper"
for her poster on "Investigation into irradition effects in ODS-alloys
using ion implantation and micromechanical testing" at the 2013 IEEE
25th Symposium on Fusion Engineering, San Francisco.

3/6/13: New paper: How oxidised grain boundaries fail.

In this paper, through a multifaceted approach using micromechanical
testing, analytical TEM and modelling, we show that individual grain
boundaries, selectively oxidized after exposure to simulated pressurized
nuclear reactor cooling water, can be mechanically tested so that their
resistance to fracture can be quantified. For further details see here.

22/4/13: New paper: Effects of irradiation temperature and
dose rate on the mechanical properties of self-ion implanted Fe and
Fe-Cr alloys

This paper documents very strong dose rate effects on the hardening
produced in FeCr alloys by ion-implantions.  It appears that the strong
hardening seen at low dose rates is due to chromium segregation to the
dislocation loops produced by the radiation damage. For further details
see here.

05/1/13: Review Paper Published

A large review paper which we have contributed to has just been
published in the Journal of Nuclear Materials. This paper summarises
work carried out on tungsten for fusion applications across Europe under
the EFDA-W project. James Gibson, David Armstrong and Steve Roberts
contributed to the work on fracture at the macro and micro-scale of
tungsten and tungsten-tantalum alloys. The full paper is online here.