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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T016566/1
Title: Intermetallic Dispersion Strengthened 'IDS-Steels' for Generation IV Nuclear
Principal Investigator: Knowles, Dr A J
Other Investigators:
Middleburgh, Dr S Pickering, Dr E
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Metallurgy and Materials
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 April 2022 Ends: 31 March 2025 Value (£): 628,951
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
22 Oct 2019 UK-India Civil Nuclear Collaboration Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
This programme will develop a new generation of creep-resistant Intermetallic Dispersion Strengthened 'IDS-steels', capable of withstanding the demanding operating requirements of Generation IV reactors, Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR), and Advanced Technology Fuels (ATF). The interlinked UK-India team comprises researchers from Birmingham, Bangor, Manchester, IGCAR and BARC, supporting early career researchers, and two-way research and academic visits.

In order to meet the UK and India's future energy demand and decarbonisation commitments under the Paris Agreements nuclear energy will be of vital importance. Both the UK and India are developing future Generation IV nuclear fission technologies that would reduce the cost and waste production of nuclear energy, whilst being intrinsically 'walk away' safe. Gen IV reactor designs employ advanced coolants, such as molten metal (e.g. Na), molten salt, or gas coolants, which require high operation temperatures of 500-800 degrees C. This is significantly higher than current water cooled reactors, and as such requires advanced structural materials with increased capability over those currently employed.

A variety of advanced materials are under consideration and development to meet the needs of Gen IV reactors and their more aggressive conditions (coolant chemistry, temperature and radiation damage) when compared to current reactors. Despite major successes there remains significant challenges to obtain the required balance of properties for Gen IV advanced reactors and a continued need to develop new materials.

A material that has shown significant promise and has opened up a new research area is

Oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) steels, developed over the last 30 years. However, there remains challenges related to manufacturability on commercial scales. In the last decade there has been rapid development of advanced intermetallic reinforced steels for non-nuclear, with exceptional improvement in properties. This has been driven by great improvement in materials modelling, namely atomic scale modelling (DFT) and thermodynamic databases (CALPHAD), allowing for acceleration of the alloy development process. In this work we propose a new approach learning from the successes of nuclear ODS-steels, non-nuclear intermetallic reinforced steels, and the advances in materials modelling. A new generation of creep-resistant ODS-like 'Intermetallic Dispersion Strengthened' 'IDS-steels' will be developed capable of withstanding the demanding operating requirements of Generation IV reactors.

Two-way knowledge exchange between the UK and India is a core part of this proposal such that long-lasting connections are developed that go beyond the duration of grant. This is highlighted throughout the Work Packages where expertise from both sides are combined. These strong interlinks will be ensured by bi-yearly visits of 1-2 weeks alternating between the UK and India including embedded researcher time in the resective labs, quarterly UK meetings including conference calls to India, with the findings of the project then presented at an open end-of-grant UK-India workshop.
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk