December 15, 2022

And now we have a group!

A critical part of ensuring the success of a project and that it has a useful legacy is to ensure that it is not dependant on a handful of people. To this end this proposal aimed to acquire 2 PDRAs and a PhD student for this duration.

For much of 2022, the Radiation Dense Materials Group was composed of myself and Gurdev, a significant leap from 2021. Much has been accomplished this year as part of the project:

  • Reproduction of Reactive Sintered Borides by Ar atmosphere sintering
  • Exploration of the RSB phase diagram
  • Initiation of collaborative research with Hyperion MT
  • Irradiation of cWC and RSB samples at the Dalton Cumbrian facility

So far, one paper has been accepted and another is currently under review. But like an iceberg there is more under the surface. There are two papers on RSB sintering planned and underway; an in-depth analysis of irradiated cWC and RSB samples and plans for brazing and dilatometry of cWC, RSB and joined cWC and RSB on steel.

This is an ambitious body of work and would not be feasible so with this we can now welcome the two newest members of the group from November: Joe Gillham and Suresh Srinivasan who will be working with more of a focus on cWC and its qualification and testing as a fusion material. There will be numerous challenges since a fusion material has to be more than just a good shield; it has to be compatible with other reactor components and be suitably tractable when being put into place for example. This is going to form a significant part of the planned work in 2023 where equipment and working practices within the group consolidate with the formal start of the collaboration with external partners and further use of central facilties. 2023 is going to be a year to remember and will be made feasible with a full group.

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