One of the main challenges confronting nuclear power is to find materials that could last long enough in the face of radiation damage. NE doctoral student Yan-Ru Lin is addressing this issue through his research, which was recently recognized with the American Nuclear Society Mark Mills Award given by the Education, Training and Workforce Development Division’s Honors and Awards Committee.
The award, which honors the best original technical publication by a graduate student related to nuclear science and engineering, is for his paper “Temperature-dependent cavity swelling in dual-ion irradiated Fe and Fe-Cr ferritic alloys” that was published in the journal Acta Materialia earlier this year.
Ferritic steels are leading candidates for the structures of multiple Gen IV fission and proposed fusion reactor concepts. The paper documents that cavity swelling in iron-chromium (Fe-Cr) alloys is greatly suppressed by Cr additions at lower temperatures (below 470oC), whereas it is nearly independent of Cr content at higher temperatures. The paper also presented compelling evidence that multiple prior published ion irradiation studies were flawed due to implanted-ion and near-surface artifacts associated with the use of low-ion energies.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award as a memorial to the late Mark Mills in recognition of his significant contributions to nuclear science and engineering,” said Lin. “I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to my advisor, Professor Steven Zinkle, for his academic guidance and enthusiastic encouragement throughout my research. Since the optimal long-term solutions for sustainable worldwide energy are not yet determined, it is important to perform research on options such as nuclear energy. Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs.”
Lin’s research was done in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission scientists. It focuses on the basics of radiation behavior that may affect cavity swelling in ferritic alloys.
Zinkle said that this research can be applied to other more complex steels with novel material processing techniques that are in the beginning stages of exploration by other researchers.
“Yan-Ru’s tour de force investigation is providing the premiere collection of results on the effects of alloy composition, exposure temperature and helium co-generation content ever assembled for any irradiated alloy system,” said Zinkle. “His research represents a major advance in our understanding of radiation effects in ferritic steels.”