Nathaniel Leung

Dr Nathanael Leung

Postgraduate research student


Omar Mohamed, Bin Zhu, Nathanael Leung, Winfried Kockelmann, Thomas R. Barrett, Mark J. Whiting, Yiqiang Wang, Tan Sui (2024)The use of time-of-flight neutron Bragg edge imaging to measure the residual strains in W/Cu dissimilar joints for fusion reactors, In: Nuclear materials and energy38101593 Elsevier

The European DEMOnstration power plant (EU DEMO) project is currently leading the research endeavours within the fusion field with the goal of developing a next generation fusion reactor. Given the challenging nature of the application, it is essential to establish methodologies that can provide convenient and reliable characterisation of the chosen materials within DEMO. In this paper, the recently developed Time-of-Flight Neutron Bragg Edge Imaging (TOF-NBEI) was used on Tungsten (W)/ Copper (Cu) dissimilar joints sample mock-ups of the cooling system design used in the critical divertor component with the goal of mapping the residual stresses across the sample. Residual strain mapping was performed on the W phase with considerable tensile residual strains identified close to the W-Cu interface. The large-grain microstructure of the Cu phase was analysed using the energy-resolved neutron radiographs. The results will be used as a basis for future TOF-NBEI experiments of tungsten monoblocks related to DEMO.

Bin Zhu, Nathanael Leung, Winfried Kockelmann, Michael Gorley, Mark J. Whiting, Yiqiang Wang, Tan Sui (2023)Neutron Bragg edge tomography characterisation of residual strain in a laser-welded Eurofer97 joint, In: Nuclear materials and energy36 Elsevier Ltd

•Bulk inspection reveals residual strain distribution of laser-welded Eurofer97 joints.•Residual strain tomography was reconstructed using neutron Bragg edge imaging projections.•Tomographic reconstructions were achieved using a small number of projections. Nuclear fusion is a potential source of electricity which can address the environmental problems posed by fossil fuels. Eurofer97 steel is a primary structural material for breeding blanket and divertor components in fusion Tokamaks. Assembling and maintaining the structural integrity of these in-vessel components requires remote joint techniques, such as laser welding, although it induces immersive residual stress. The interaction of the residual strain and the heterogeneous microstructure degrades the mechanical performance of fusion components. However, an inspection of bulk residual strain distribution is still challenging. This study presents the residual strain distribution in the bulk of the weldment using volumetric tomographic reconstruction. A neutron Bragg edge imaging technique is used to obtain 2D angular projections. The 3D volumetric strain map is reconstructed from 2D residual strain projections using the filtered back projection technique. It is found that the laser welding technique generates a uniform residual strain field in the through-thickness direction. The results also demonstrate the potential of reconstructing volumetric residual strain distribution in bulk materials using fewer projections to reduce data redundancy and acquisition time for the neutron Bragg edge imaging technique.

Jingyi Mo, Nathanael Leung, Priyanka Gupta, Bin Zhu, Hui Xing, Jiao Zhang, Eirini Velliou, Tan Sui (2021)Multi-scale structural and mechanical characterisation in bioinspired polyurethane-based pancreatic cancer model, In: Journal of materials research and technology15pp. 2507-2517 Elsevier

In this work, novel bioinspired polyurethane (PU) scaffolds were fabricated via freeze casting for PU-based Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) model. In order to reproduce the tumour micro-environment that facilitates cellular kinetics, the PU scaffolds were surface modified with extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins including collagen and fibronectin (Col and FN). Synchrotron-based small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) techniques were applied to probe structural evolution during in situ mechanical testing. Strains at macroscopic, nano-, and lattice scales were obtained to investigate the effects of ECM proteins and pancreatic cell activities to PU scaffolds. Significant mechanical strengthening across length scales of PU scaffolds was observed in specimens surface modified by FN. A model of stiffness modulation via enhanced interlamellar recruitment is proposed to explain the multi-scale strengthening mechanisms. Understanding multi-scale deformation mechanisms of a series of PU scaffolds opens an opportunity in developing a novel pancreatic cancer model for studying cancer evolution and predicting outcomes of drug/treatments.

Bin Zhu, Nathanael Leung, Winfried Kockelmann, Saurabh Kabra, Andrew J London, Michael Gorley, Mark J Whiting, Yiqiang Wang, Tan Sui (2022)Revealing the residual stress distribution in laser welded Eurofer97 steel by neutron diffraction and Bragg edge imaging, In: Journal of materials science & technology Elsevier Ltd

•Through-thickness residual stress distribution in three dimensions is evaluated.•High-resolution residual strain is mapped by neutron Bragg edge imaging.•Location-dependent reference lattice spacing is first applied on neutron imaging.•Correlation between microstructure, residual stress and micro-hardness is studied. Eurofer97 steel is a primary structural material for applications in fusion reactors. Laser welding is a promising technique to join Eurofer97 plasma-facing components and overcome remote handling and maintenance challenges. The interaction of the induced residual stress and the heterogeneous microstructure degrades the mechanical performance of such fusion components. The present study investigates the distribution of residual stresses of as-welded and post-heat treated Eurofer97 joints. The mechanistic connections between microstructure, material properties, and residual stress are also studied. The neutron diffraction is used to study the through-thickness residual stress distribution in three directions, and neutron Bragg edge imaging (NBEI) is applied to study the residual strain in high spatial resolution. The microstructures and micro-hardness are characterised by electron backscatter diffraction and nanoindentation, respectively. The M-shaped residual stress distribution through the thickness of the as-welded weldment is observed by neutron diffraction line scans over a region of 1.41 × 10 mm2. These profiles are cross-validated over a larger area (∼56 × 40 mm2) with the higher spatial resolution by NBEI. The micro-hardness value in the fusion zone of the as-welded sample almost doubles from 2.75 ± 0.09 GPa to 5.06 ± 0.29 GPa due to a combination of residual stress and cooling-induced martensite. Conventional post weld heat treatment (PWHT) is shown to release ∼ 90% of the residual stress but not fully restore the microstructure. By comparing its hardness with that of stress-free samples, it is found that the microstructure is the primary contribution to the hardening. This study provides insight into the prediction of structural integrity for critical structural components of fusion reactors.

J Mo, N Leung, P Gupta, B Zhu, E Velliou, T Sui (2021)Novel in situ multi-level analysis of structural-mechanical relations in a bioinspired polyurethane-based tissue model, In: Materials today advances12100184 Elsevier

In this manuscript, we elucidated, for the first time, the substructural mechanisms present in our recently developed bioinspired polyurethane-based pancreatic tissue models. Different protein coatings of the model, i.e., collagen and fibronectin were examined. More specifically, analysis took place by combined real-time synchrotron X-ray scattering techniques and confocal laser scanning microscopy, to quantify the structural alteration of uncoated-polyurethane (PU) and protein-coated PU as well as the time-resolved structural reorganisation occurring at the micro-, nano- and lattice length scales during in situ micromechanical testing. We demonstrate that a clear increase of stiffness at the lamellar level following the fibronectin-PU modification, which is linked to the changes in the mechanics of the lamellae and interlamellar cohesion. This multi-level analysis of structural-mechanical relations in this polyurethane-based pancreatic cancer tissue model opens an opportunity in designing mechanically robust cost-effective tissue models not only for fundamental research but also for treatment screening.

Hongbo Wan, Nathanael Leung, Sana Algharaibeh, Tan Sui, Qiang Liu, Hua-Xin Peng, Bo Su (2020)Cost-effective fabrication of bio-inspired nacre-like composite materials with high strength and toughness, In: Composites Part B: Engineering202108414 Elsevier

A cost-effective one-step densification process based on bi-directional freeze casting was investigated to produce nacre-like alumina/poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) composites with a unique micro-layered (μL) architecture. This method has the advantage of shorter processing time, as it requires only sintering once instead of twice as in the fabrication of conventional brick-and-mortar (BM) composites via freeze casting. By tuning the processing parameters, composites with different ceramic content and layer thickness were obtained. The resultant mechanical properties of μL composites showed that ceramic content and wall thickness affected mechanical properties significantly. The μL composite with fine ceramic walls (8 μm) and relatively high ceramic fraction (72 vol%) exhibited an exceptional combination of high flexural strength (178 MPa) and fracture toughness (12.5 MPa m1/2). The μL composites were also compared with the conventional BM composites. Although the fracture behaviour of both composites exhibited similar extrinsic toughening mechanisms, the μL composites with longer ceramic walls displayed superior mechanical properties in terms of strength and fracture toughness in comparison with the BM composites comprising short ceramic walls (i.e. bricks), due to the effectiveness of stress transfer of load-bearing ceramic phase within the composites.

Xiujun Fan, Xuezhi Zheng, Tong An, Xiuhong Li, Nathanael Ho Wai Leung, Bin Zhu, Tan Sui, Nan Shi, Tongxiang Fan (2023)Light diffraction by sarcomeres produces iridescence in transmission in the transparent ghost catfish, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences120(12)

Despite the elaborate varieties of iridescent colors in biological species, most of them are reflective. Here we show the rainbow-like structural colors found in the ghost catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus), which exist only in transmission. The fish shows flickering iridescence throughout the transparent body. The iridescence originates from the collective diffraction of light after passing through the periodic band structures of the sarcomeres inside the tightly stacked myofibril sheets, and the muscle fibers thus work as transmission gratings. The length of the sarcomeres varies from ~1 μm from the body neutral plane near the skeleton to ~2 μm next to the skin, and the iridescence of a live fish mainly results from the longer sarcomeres. The length of the sarcomere changes by ~80 nm as it relaxes and contracts, and the fish shows a quickly blinking dynamic diffraction pattern as it swims. While similar diffraction colors are also observed in thin slices of muscles from non-transparent species such as the white crucian carps, a transparent skin is required indeed to have such iridescence in live species. The ghost catfish skin is of a plywood structure of collagen fibrils, which allows more than 90% of the incident light to pass directly into the muscles and the diffracted light to exit the body. Our findings could also potentially explain the iridescence in other transparent aquatic species, including the eel larvae (Leptocephalus) and the icefishes (Salangidae).

NATHANAEL HO LEUNG, Robert A Harper, BIN ZHU, Richard M Shelton, Gabriel Landini, TAN SUI (2021)4D microstructural changes in dentinal tubules during acid demineralisation, In: Dental materials [e-journal] Elsevier

Objective Dental erosion is a common oral condition caused by chronic exposure to acids from intrinsic/extrinsic sources. Repeated acid exposure can lead to the irreversible loss of dental hard tissues (enamel, dentine, cementum). Dentine can become exposed to acid following severe enamel erosion, crown fracture, or gingival recession. Causing hypersensitivity, poor aesthetics, and potential pulp involvement. Improving treatments that can restore the structural integrity and aesthetics are therefore highly desirable. Such developments require a good understanding of how acid demineralisation progresses where relatively little is known in terms of intertubular dentine (ITD) and peritubular dentine (PTD) microstructure. To obtain further insight, this study proposes a new in vitro method for performing demineralisation studies of dentine. Methods Advanced high-speed synchrotron X-ray microtomography (SXM), with high spatial (0.325 µm) and temporal (15 min) resolution, was used to conduct the first in vitro, time-resolved 3D (4D) study of the microstructural changes in the ITD and PTD phases of human dentine samples (~0.8×0.8×5 mm) during 6 h of continuous acid exposure.

Hongbo Wan, NATHANAEL HO LEUNG, URANGUA JARGALSAIKHAN, Eric Ho, Chaolin Wang, Qiang Liu, Hua-Xin Peng, Bo Su, TAN SUI (2022)Fabrication and Characterisation of Alumina/aluminium Composite Materials with a Nacre-like Micro-layered Architecture, In: Materials & design223111190

Many natural materials demonstrate ideal design inspirations for the development of lightweight composite materials with excellent damage tolerance. One notable example is the layered architecture of nacre, which possesses toughness an order of magnitude higher than its constituent parts. Man-made nacre-like ceramic/polymer composites obtained through direct infiltration of polymer in ceramic scaffolds have been shown to produce improved mechanical properties over other composite architectures. Replacing the polymer phase with metal could provide higher damage tolerance but the infiltration of metal into complex ceramic scaffolds is difficult due to the surface tension of molten metal. To address this, bioinspired nacre-like micro-layered (µL) alumina scaffolds with different ceramic fractions from 18 to 85% were infiltrated with aluminium alloy 5083 via pressureless and squeeze casting infiltrations techniques. The scaffolds were created using a bi-directional freeze-casting and one-step densification method. As a result, the µL alumina/aluminium composites displayed significant extrinsic toughening mechanisms with both high strength and toughness. The mechanical performance was highly dependent on the interface, microstructure, and composition. The nacre-like composites with 18% alumina and AlN interface displayed a maximum resistance‐curve toughness up to around 70 MPa.m½ (35 MPa.m½ at the ASTM limit) and a flexural strength around 600 MPa.

JINGYI MO, NATHANAEL HO LEUNG, URANGUA JARGALSAIKHAN, Hongbo Wan, Bin Zhu, Bo Su, TAN SUI (2022)Advanced microscopic characterisation of multi-scale high-resolution mechanical behaviour of a nacre-inspired composite, In: Composites Communications35101315 Elsevier