|I recently completed my MEng (Hons) in Chemical Engineering at the University of Leeds, where my research project concentrated on predicting the behaviour of boiling flows in nuclear reactors using multiphase CFD code. The title of my PhD project is “Joining Refractory metals for nuclear fusion applications”. I will be working with Dr Ed Pickering, Dr Aneeqa Khan, Dr John Francis and Dr Anastasia Vasileiou at The University of Manchester, with industrial supervision from Dr Yiqiang Wang & Dr Simon Kirk at Culham Centre of Fusion Energy (CCFE) & UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).
Many components found in fusion reactors are made from various materials and are required to cope with the high temperatures and plasma exposure. Therefore, it is important to understand the materials’ behaviour as a result of such conditions. Tungsten is a favourable material for fusion reactors due to its high melting point and its extremely high energy threshold, which reduces sputtering when tungsten encounters plasma. Tungsten is normally found in the divertor region in a fusion reactor. However, the STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Programme) Program will concentrate on tungsten and other refractory metals for the first wall, shielding modules and other components with complex geometries within the reactor. My project will concentrate on developing welding techniques to join tungsten and other composites relevant to the STEP programme while keeping the materials structural integrity. Welding techniques such as arc, electron & laser beam will be utilised. The welds will also be characterized using X-ray & neutron diffraction techniques. The mechanical behaviour due to thermal and irradiation exposure will also be measured and analysed.