Novel heat treatment of Reduced Activation Ferritic/Martensitic steel welds – Materials Strand Project

Supervisors: Dr. Aneeqa Khan, Dr. Anastasia Vasileiou and Dr Ed Pickering (University of Manchester) and Dr. Yiqiang Wang (UKAEA)

Structural components in a fusion reactor must withstand the diverse range of demands placed on the component by fusion reactor conditions, including 14 MeV neutron irradiation, He exposure and high temperatures. It is vital that the joins between structural materials maintain integrity during operations. There are several candidate materials that are being considered for the UK Atomic Atomic Energy Authority ‘STEP’ (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) programme. STEP will be undertaking joining trials with a variety of materials and configurations to aid the design and manufacture of in-vessel components. In this project 9Cr% steels (Eurofer to Eurofer and ODS Eurofer to Eurofer) joints will be analysed in order to determine the effectiveness of novel heat treatments and the response of the joints to irradiation. In order to achieve this novel heat treatments will be carried out ex-situ and in-situ at ISIS neutron facilities (Engin-X and IMAT) in order to assess residual stresses, microstructure and internal defects. The contour method, a lab based technique will also be used to measure residual stresses and additionally electron microscopy will be used to analyse the microstructure around the weld Following this characterization, ion irradiation experiments will be carried out at UoM on the welds to determine response to reactor conditions. This is of huge importance in order to determine the best heat treatments and to understand the performance of the joins in service.

To summarise the objectives of the project:

  • To perform in-situ neutron diffraction to study novel heat treatment for 9Cr% steels joints.
  • To conduct tests/characterisation at IMAT or ENGINX
  • To perform ion irradiation studies of the joints.

The project will be based at the University of Manchester and also make use of the National Lab Facilities at ISIS (Harwell) in order to carry out experiments.

This project is offered by University of Manchester. For further information please contact: Aneeqa Khan (

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