Finer scale residual stress evaluation of irradiated joints of nuclear fusion alloys

This fully funded Surrey-UKAEA joint PhD project offers an exciting opportunity to actively participate in the realisation of nuclear fusion.

Start date

1 October 2024


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

UKAEA/University of Surrey Matched Funding

Funding information

Funding covers a stipend of £20,000 pa (tax-free) and UK “home” tuition fees for 3.5 years. Funding is also available to cover travel, conferences and consumables. 


The UK has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and recognises the significant potential of nuclear fusion as a sustainable and clean source of energy to support this ambitious goal. However, challenges persist in the design, manufacturing, and structural integrity of high value-added fusion in-vessel components. These components often use complex and dissimilar materials systems, joining geometry/interface and fabrication processes due to functional requirements of operating in extreme conditions (high temperature and thousands of cycles of long plasma pulse). Residual stress, induced by the thermo-physical property mismatch in joints, can significantly limit their service life. This triggers a need for thorough mechanistic understanding of the phenomena related to the integration of advanced materials, joining techniques and residual stress evaluation that drive materials degradation under fusion irradiation. The overall aim of this project is to develop and implement a new capability employing micro-/nano- mechanical techniques to examine the complex residual stress on the mechanical performance of joints subjected to harsh environmental conditions.

This project allows multidisciplinary collaboration between the University of Surrey and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy/United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (CCFE/UKAEA) to develop advanced measurement techniques and create new knowledge to address residual stress challenges for fusion materials, using complementary world-leading facilities in both parties. This will be performed within the multidisciplinary labs at Surrey (High temperature irradiation, advanced microscopy techniques) and the UKAEA Materials Research Facility (Plasma focused-ion beam, nanoindentation and XRD techniques). The successful applicant will be expected to spend 50% of their studentship at Surrey and 50% at UKAEA.

Eligibility criteria

Only UK Higher Education “Home Fee” status applicants and EU residents satisfying the three-year residency requirement are eligible.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least an Upper Second Bachelor’s degree, and preferably a Master’s degree, in an appropriate discipline (e.g. engineering, material sciences, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry or a related subject).

How to apply

Application should be made through the University portal via our programme page.

In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for and the name of the relevant supervisor.

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Application deadline

Contact details

Tan Sui
18A AC 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689670

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