New Zr alloys for fusion applications (materials strand project)

Supervisors: DEJ Armstrong (University of Oxford) and CRM Grovenor (University of Oxford)

There is currently a lot of activity in the UK in selecting the materials from which key components in new designs of small fusion reactors will be fabricated.

This project will focus on the development of new Zr-based alloys for use in the breeder blanket assembly, where as well as mechanical properties at elevated temperatures, resistance to degradation by both radiation damage and aqueous or liquid metal corrosion are required.  The current generation of Zr alloys designed for operation in PWRs cannot operate much above 400C, and this project will explore novel alloys with the potential to be used at much higher temperatures.  The student will be involved in the fabrication of new alloys, microstructural analysis and mechanical property testing, as well as the design and installation of new facilities for the study of liquid metal corrosion. The project is part of the EPSRC MIDAS grant on Zr alloys in nuclear applications, and there will be opportunities to spend time for specific experiments in the laboratories of project partners as well as at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

This studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student with home fee status (this status includes an EU student who has spent the previous three years (or more) in the UK undertaking undergraduate study).  Candidates with EU fee status are eligible for a fees-only award, but normally would have to provide funding for their living costs from another source such as personal funds or a scholarship.  The stipend will be at least £16,009 per year.  Information on fee status can be found at

Candidates are considered in the January 2020 admissions cycle which has an application deadline of 24 January 2020.

This project is offered by University of Oxford. For further information please contact David Armstrong(