After completing an Meng in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manchester, I worked as a mechanical engineer in the nuclear industry supporting a materials testing lab. As a firm believer in the needs of nuclear power for our future, being involved in fusion research is one of the most exciting areas of physical science and engineering.
Many fusion reactors being developed are designed to use deuterium and tritium as fuel. Tritium has a short half life of around twelve years, so supply is limited. Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that graphene can separate deuterium and hydrogen at much lower energy costs than current methods. My project will be looking at whether graphene can separate tritium and hydrogen and if there are other materials which can separate deuterium and hydrogen with better properties than have currently been discovered.
This research will help to reduce the costs of fusion fuels and of cleaning tritiated water, reducing the damage of nuclear waste to our environment.