Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

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Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Departmental Colloquium - "The influence of high energy irradiation on structural materials"

Mark R Daymond,
Dept. of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Queen’s

Friday, January 30, 2015
1:45 p.m. in Stirling Theatre A


Materials behave quite differently in the presence of radiation fields; comprising fast particles and high energy electro-magnetic waves.  Of particular relevance to structural components, fast particles cause atomic displacements by elastic collision with the atoms.  Understanding the interaction between high energy particles and materials is key to safely designing and optimising nuclear reactors (both fission and fusion) and to increase the lifetime of components in space.

Some of the changes that occur in materials are long lasting or permanent; for example, irradiation causes an increase in strength and loss of ductility in metals. Such effects can be studied by post-exposure or ex-situ examination of materials. Other radiation induced effects are dynamic, for example irradiation induced deformation (creep, growth, swelling) and only occur in the radiation environment itself.

There is presently a world-wide resurgence of investment in nuclear power. This has partly come from a desire to operate existing reactors beyond their originally planned lifetime, but is also combined with a realization that nuclear power must be a major component of power generation infrastructure over the next 50 years and beyond if countries wish to maintain low carbon emissions. Correspondingly, there is a renewed interest in research within the area of structural materials for nuclear power applications.

This talk will discuss some of the mechanisms involved in radiation damage, the advanced characterisation techniques now available to study defect generation in such materials, and highlight some of the work being done at Queen’s on this topic towards predicting lifetime of components and designing next generation materials.  The particular focus will be on structural materials for fission power applications.