Developing SiC for fusion application (Materials Strand Project)

Supervisor/s: Ping Xiao & Philip Withers (University of Manchester).

SiC/SiC composites have been proposed for fusion application as blanket materials to achieve high-operation-temperature of up to ~1000 oC (for high energy conversion efficiency) and superior low-activation of the blanket system, which has attractive and unique benefits compared with a metallic-based blanket. In addition, a dual-coolant helium/lead-lithium blanket concept was proposed, where flow channel inserts (FCIs) made of SiC/SiC composite are key elements serving as electrical and thermal insulation between a flowing liquid metal and steel structures. Technological challenge on SiC for this application include controlling appropriate thermal and electrical insulation properties under irradiation environment, and chemical compatibility with flowing liquid metal.

Ping Xiao’s research team in collaboration with Philip Withers have developed a novel polymer infiltration pyrolysis method coupled with chemical vapour deposition to manufacture SiC/SiC composites of complex shape which could be used for fusion application. The proposed PhD project intends to continue developing this novel manufacture process with study of both thermal and electrical properties of the SiC/SiC plus chemical compatibility with flowing liquid metals like PdLi. The project will involve irradiation study of SiC and examination of SiC using TEM, Raman spectroscopy and mechanical testing techniques.

Collaboration will be explored with international partners in EU and USA depending on the progress of the project and subject to discussion with potential collaborators.

This project is offered by the University of Manchester. For further information please contact Ping Xiao:

This project may be compatible with part time study, please contact the project supervisors if you are interested in exploring this.

Picture above is taken from from the paper “Advanced Radiation-Resistant Ceramic Composites” by Y. Katoh1,a, L.L. Snead1,b , T. Nozawa1,c, N.B. Morley2,d , W.E. Windes3,e. Advances in Science and Technology Online: 2006-10-10
ISSN: 1662-0356, Vol. 45, pp 1915-1924 doi:10.4028/