Features at the microstructural scale – dislocations, point-defects, precipitates, grain boundaries, and their synergistic interactions – control materials’ mechanical properties. Radiation damage in materials introduces a variety of defects at this scale: point defect clusters, solute segregation, dislocation loops, voids and bubbles. The interactions of the “normal” microstructure, and modifications arising from radiation damage, with cracks and dislocations determine the usability and the lifetime of materials in structural nuclear applications.
This project is focused on materials for next-generation nuclear power plants. It will develop an innovative multi-faceted experimental programme operating at and adjacent to the microstructural length scale, linked to modelling at the same length scale. The project will build on and combine the strengths of existing research teams, and will involve close collaborations between the academic partners and research institutes and industry in the UK, Europe, Japan and the USA. A key strategic aim is to contribute to maintaining a leading position for the UK.