Self-irradiation of plutonium using surrogate materials
PhD Student: Kathryn Yates
I am investigating self—irradiation of plutonium using surrogate materials which have been subject to radiation effects. The UK has stockpiles of plutonium from our energy and defence programmes, and further knowledge of how the material ages is desirable for safe-handling, use, and long-term storage. Radioactive decay of plutonium results in lattice damage, compositional changes, and helium accumulation due to α-decay. These phenomena are thought to affect the materials mechanical behaviour, corrosion behaviour and phase stability. In this study surrogate materials are irradiated with helium ions and subject to lattice damage using ion accelerators at the Dalton Cumbria Facility, and samples are analysed using TEM techniques including EELS and in-situ heating, and micromechanical testing.