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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Itsy Bitsy, Teeny Weeny, Yellow Tensile Test Machine-y, and Other Small Scale Mechanical Tests for Irradiated Materials

Date: Thursday, May 29th
Presenter: Peter Hosemann, Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California-Berkeley


Nuclear-based energy solutions have been deployed for decades while new concepts are developed which are tailored to address current concerns of climate change, pollution, safety and proliferation. Most nuclear applications however, provide challenging conditions for engineers due to the unique environment that components and structures are exposed to while a comprehensive view of related issues is needed. As for most engineering applications, the materials available limit the design and subsequent deployment of a concept. No single factor poses this unique challenge but rather the combination of temperature, stress, time, environment and dose, which provide fascinating but also challenging conditions not found easily anywhere else.
The unique environment of a nuclear system induces a wide range of microstructural changes leading to mechanical property changes which are essential to understand and quantify for a safe and reliable nuclear facility. Mechanical testing of irradiated materials has been conducted since decades and data have been collected of relevant properties. However, nuclear materials have always been a driving force to reduce the sample size in order to reduce the radiation exposure to operating personal while optimizing the reactor space available. Recent advances in mechanical testing allow even smaller sample sizes making ion beam irradiations accessible to mechanical testing.
In this presentation small scale mechanical testing techniques are outlined with specific examples of how they are applied to nuclear materials while engineering data are obtained. Examples of how small scale mechanical testing also allowing to develop a basic scientific understanding of phenomena’s like size effects and the interaction of dislocations with specific kind of defects are shown.

Peter Hosemann is an assistant professor in the Department for Nuclear Engineering at the University of California Berkeley. Professor Hosemann received his PhD in Materials Science from the Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Austria in 2008 while the research on LBE corrosion, ion irradiations and microscale testing was actually carried out at Los Alamos National Laboratory both as a student and post doc. Professor Hosemann joined the faculty at Berkeley in 2010 and has authored more than 50 per reviewed publications since 2008.