Probabilistic treatment of multi-scale residual stress and defects in fracture assessment of dissimilar joints for nuclear fusion

This fully funded PhD project is an exciting opportunity to make a contribution to the realisation of nuclear fusion.

Start date
1 October 2022
4 years
Application deadline
Funding source
Funding information

Full UK tuition fees (£4,500) with automatic increase to UKRI rate each year.

A stipend of £18,609 per annum for 21/22, which will increase each year in line with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) rate with additional funds for travel, equipment and consumables.


Nuclear fusion can offer sustainable electricity. However, challenges in the design, manufacturing and structural integrity of high value-added fusion components are yet to be overcome. These components use complex materials systems, joining geometry/interface and fabrication processes to operate in extreme conditions (high temperature and thousands of cycles of long plasma pulse). The service life is limited due to the significant joining-induced residual stress (RS) by the thermo-physical property mismatch between joint parts. To contribute to the design and structural integrity assessment of the next fusion reactor by ~2030, the issues related to the integration of advanced materials, joining technique and structural integrity assessment need to be studied. Newly emerged state-of-the-art techniques are timely needed to examine the critical mechanical behaviour of brazed joints. Indentation (Micro-, Nano-) has been used to measure spatially resolved RS (such as thin metal layers and surface of bulk materials et al). This project aims to create fundamental understandings of multi-scale RS and their influence on mechanical performance of dissimilar joints via multi-scale indentation. The outcome of this project will provide a significant contribution to the design and structural integrity assessment of the next fusion power plant.

This project will establish a collaboration model to develop measurement technique and create new knowledge to address challenges for fusion materials. This will be performed within the multidisciplinary labs (in situ nanoindentation) at Surrey, Advanced Engineering Materials Team (standalone nanoindentation up to high temperature) at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Technology Department (larger-scale indentation) at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy/United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (CCFE/UKAEA). The successful applicant will be expected to spend time at each partner organisation.

Eligibility criteria

This project is suitable for UK students (only UK fees covered). EU/International students are considered only if they can demonstrate exceptional achievements (e.g., publications, excellent academic performance, prizes, etc.).

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, physics, chemistry or a related subject).

If English is not the first language, IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) is required, with no sub-test score less than 6.

Further eligibility information can be found on the UKRI site.

How to apply

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

Application enquiries are recommended prior to submission and can be directly made to Dr Tan Sui (

Application deadline

Contact details

Tan Sui

15 AA 02

Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689670


Hannah Zhang



Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.