Sponsor: UK Atomic Energy Authority

Tungsten carbide (WC) is a promising candidate for shielding in compact fusion reactors due to its exceptional thermal, mechanical, and neutron-attenuation properties. However, its performance under the intense thermal and neutron loads in fusion environments remains unclear. My research aims to address this gap by studying the irradiation-induced microstructural and mechanical property changes in WC.

This project will use ion irradiation facilities to imitate the neutron damage in WC and investigate the resulting evolution in microstructure and mechanical performance. Understanding these changes will help to assess and predict WC's through-life performance and inform the development of more radiation-tolerant materials and microstructures.

I have previous nuclear experience from studying nuclear engineering for four years at the University of Birmingham. During my undergraduate studies, I completed my thesis in Dr Alexander Knowles' group on the design and development of triplex stainless steel containing a novel silicide phase for fusion applications. Additionally, I carried out post-irradiation examinations on a reactor pressure vessel material and helped validate crystal plasticity models for UKAEA's STEP reactor heat sink material.