Materials Under Extreme
Advanced Materials Research for Fusion EnergyMarch 08, 2013
Processing conditions resulting in ultra-fine grains & high density of nanoclusters were discovered.
Development of fusion energy presents tremendous opportunities for materials science and engineering as the realization of fusion requires materials capable of operating in harsh nuclear environments well beyond their current capabilities. Particularly challenging are the blanket, first wall, and plasma-facing materials that will be subject to intense 14 MeV neutrons and highly eroding plasma fluxes. The lack of availability of the neutron sources, high heat flux test facilities, and prototypical plasma facilties makes the materials development even more challenging.
Fusion materials development efforts undertaken by the Materials Science and Technology Division have historically focused on the fundamental understanding which has lead to the development of the current mainstream advanced structural materials including reduced-activation ferritic/martensitic steels, oxide dispersion-strengthened martensitic steels, and nuclear-grade silicon carbide composites. Currently, our program is undertaking fundamental research on irradiation effects in high-temperature superconductor, dielectric mirrors, and developing and testing new refractory alloys for plasma facing materials. In all elements of this program computational modeling plays a vital role to both understand and increase the development rate of these new materials systems. Moreover, modeling allows the program to predict the performance of materials for which experimental verification is currently not possible.