Imperial College London

Dr Sam Humphry-Baker

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Materials

Imperial College Research Fellow
 
 
 
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Contact

 

s.humphry-baker

 
 
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Location

 

LM.04Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

RESEARCH PROJECTS

THERMOMECHANICS

The development of high temperature structural materials is a critical challenge to the implementation of nuclear fusion. We are testing advanced candidate structural materials up to 2000 °C in a graphite furnace testing rig. Deformed specimens are characterised by high resolution microscopy to understand failure mechanisms, such that in-service performance can be predicted with greater fidelity.

IRRADIATION DAMAGE RESISTANCE

Assessment of irradiation damage tolerance is critical to understanding a material's lifetime in service. Irradiations are carried out in national nuclear facilities and are evaluated by transmission electron microscopy, atom probe tomography, and small-scale testing methods such as nanoindentation.

 OXIDATION STUDIES AND COATINGS

Oxidation resistance is a particular challenge in fusion reactors, where performance under a sudden loss of coolant and vacuum must be understood and mitigated against. Kinetic studies are carried out using thermogravimetric analysis. This is combined with X-ray diffraction and microscopy to understand degradation mechanisms and inform the design of oxidation resistant coatings processed by chemical vapour deposition. 

ceramic-metal composites

Composites of tungsten carbide and metallic cobalt are widely employed in machine tools, however cobalt is toxic to workers. This project is developing alternative composites with non-toxic metals. We are also developing tungsten boride-based composites, which are more challenging to produce, but have improved neutron attenuation performance, which makes them of interest for nuclear fusion reactor development.