Charlotte Brown

University Of Manchester

‘I am based at the University of Manchester, supervised by Dr Aneeqa Khan, Dr Anastasia Vasileiou and Dr John Francis. Before starting my PhD, I completed my MPhys in Theoretical Physics at Durham University with a dissertation detailing simulations of neutron emission spectra from MAST-U’s plasma discharges.

Nuclear fusion reactors expose materials to some of the most hostile conditions on Earth including 14 MeV neutron irradiation, high temperatures, plasma exposure and pulsed operations. Tungsten is a favourable material for fusion reactors due to its high melting point and reduced sputtering rate when encountering plasma. Currently, tungsten is largely used in the divertor region of a reactor but, for future designs, tungsten is being considered for the first wall and structural components with complex geometries that will require joining together several components. My PhD project focuses on joining tungsten using electron beam and arc welding techniques while maintaining structural integrity and navigating issues such as the brittle nature of tungsten. The welds will be characterised via a variety of techniques including microscopy, hardness testing and in-situ neutron diffraction techniques. Testing these welds in fusion-relevant conditions is vital to evaluate their performance and suitability for each component in reactor designs.’