Fully Funded PhD Projects
Wednesday 20 February 2019
MERI currently has two fully funded PhD project available for applicants to start in May 2019.
Director of Studies: Dr. Robin Smith
This PhD project is sponsored by the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) and is an exciting opportunity to contribute to fusion research in the UK. The successful applicant will study methods of neutron detection in high-radiation fusion environments supported by Sheffield Hallam University. The student will work closely with the industrial partner throughout the project and will spend six months on site working with experts at CCFE at the beginning of the project.
In nuclear fusion environments, accurately monitoring the neutron flux and energy spectrum are crucial in determining fundamental properties relating to the operation of a fusion device. Since the neutron flux is so high, and the magnetic confinement fields are so intense, the use of electronics is limited. Hence, indirect neutron monitoring, such as the dosimetry foil activation method, is needed. This type of neutron detector consists of a number of foil samples made from different materials. Upon irradiation with neutrons, the foils become activated and emit characteristic gamma rays as the various radioisotopes undergo decay. By accurately measuring the energies and intensities of these gamma rays, the energy spectrum of incident neutrons can be calculated indirectly using ‘unfolding’ methodologies. Despite this importance, many of these unfolding codes are not being actively developed/supported and none are optimised to the requirements for fusion systems.
This PhD project is sponsored by the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and the successful applicant will be based at the Materials and Engineering Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University. The student will work closely with the industrial partner throughout the project.
The ISIS Neutron and Muon Source research centre based at RAL uses Ta-W source (target) to produce neutron pulses for neutron scattering experiments. During its operation the target is water cooled which is circulated at a high velocity causing erosion-corrosion damage and leading to a premature failure of the target material.
Erosion-corrosion is a type of wear process involving progressive loss of material due to combined wastage of mechanical action and chemical reactions. Erosion-corrosion studies of Ta-W materials have not been reported before and understanding of its erosion-corrosion performance is very limited. RAL is looking for innovative ways to improve the life of the target, improved tribo-corrosion resistance being the principal one.
Informal enquiries can be addressed to Dr. Buddhadev Jana