I recently joined the ASG after completing a MEng in Material Science and Nuclear Engineering within the Imperial Materials department. My PhD, funded by the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (** CCFE **), is focused on the first principles modelling of radiation damage processes in the materials for fusion energy, in particular beryllium and the beryllides.
These materials are of interest for two applications within magnetic fusion reactors: as a neutron multiplier in the tritium breeding blanket and as plasma facing armour. In both these applications, the materials will be exposed to high thermal loads and neutron fluxes leading to the creation of point defects, hydrogen and helium. The interactions of these defects dictate the microstructural evolution of the material and thus the macroscopic physical properties.
Using atomistic simulations, these interactions can be probed and thus predictions of the behaviour of these materials over their lifetime in a reactor can be made. Techniques including density functional theory (DFT) calculations and Molecular Dynamic (MD) simulations using classical pair potentials will be used to investigate point defects, migration and the formation of extended defects.
Prior to this work, during my MEng in Material Science and Nuclear Engineering I used these techniques to investigate the phosphate mineral Apatite as a potential waste host for halides.