Nuclear Materials Short Course

This course is aimed at introducing new graduate students to the basic concepts of nuclear reactors (fission and fusion), radiation damage in materials, relevant experimental (and modelling) techniques and alloy design for nuclear applications. The course was first run in April 2011.

The course has two parts:

  1. Optional first day: basics of material science for non-materials graduates (physics, chemists, engineers, etc.). Obviously we can’t cover a three-year materials degree in 4 lectures, but this aims to provide the bare bones needed to make sense of the 2nd section.
  2. Main section: structural materials (essentially metallic alloys) for fission and fusion power applications, focussing on effects of neutron radiation on physical, mechanical and corrosion properties, the controlling mechanisms, and the means of studying and predicting these changes in macroscopic properties over the life of a reactor.

At the end of the course we aim to have exposed the student to the fundamentals of radiation damage from fast and thermal neutrons, the factors controlling the development of irradiation-induced microstructure and the attendant changes in bulk properties.  In addition, the course will provide insight into the toolbox of experimental and modelling techniques available to the researcher, the various means of examining and simulating fast neutron damage, and specific examples of structural materials/degradation mechanisms of interest.

For more details of the programme, see here.