PhD opportunities

[Subject PROVIDED] Characterization of high-temperature recovery of the irradiated microstructure and of its impact on the mechanical behavior of a zirconium alloy

Thesis proposal

Area of expertiseSciences et génie des matériaux
Doctoral SchoolISMME - Ingénierie des Systèmes, Matériaux, Mécanique, Énergétique
SupervisorGOURGUES Anne-Françoise
Research unitCentre des Matériaux
ContactAnne-Françoise GOURGUES
KeywordsMicrostructure, high-speed heat treatment, zirconium, mechanical behavior
AbstractZirconium alloys used in pressurized water nuclear power plants undergo microstructural evolutions under radiation, which impact their mechanical behavior. In the case of hypothetical scenarii, the temperature of the alloy may quickly reach high values (>600°C). Under these conditions, microstructural evolutions such as the recovery of radiation-induced defects and changes in crystal structure need to be characterized, together with their impact on the mechanical behavior of the material.
To this aim, materials with a microstructure close to that of the neutron-irradiated material will be fabricated using charged particle accelerators. Note that such experiments do not activate the materials from a radiological point of view, so that they can be further readily handled. Fast high-speed heat treatments will then be applied, followed by microstructural and mechanical characterizations. Microstructural evolutions during or after the heat treatments are to be investigated using transmission electron microscopy, conventional metallography and X-ray diffraction. The evolution of mechanical properties will be assessed using nanoindentation measurements, as well as micromechanical tests on miniaturized specimens, if relevant. These results will then be used to build a model describing the effects of recovery on the mechanical behavior of the material. At the end of the project, mechanical results already available in the laboratory, on materials that have been irradiated in commercial reactors, will be interpreted using finite element simulations together with the proposed model.
ProfileEngineer and / or Master of Science - Good level of general and scientific culture. Good level of knowledge of French (B2 level in french is required) and English. (B2 level in english is required) Good analytical, synthesis, innovation and communication skills. Qualities of adaptability and creativity. Teaching skills. Motivation for research activity. Coherent professional project.

Prerequisite (specific skills for this thesis):
The candidate must have a Bac+5 or equivalent diploma in Material Sciences or Mechanical Engineering. Good notions of steel metallurgy and a first experience in microstructural characterization would be appreciated.

Applicants should supply the following :
• a detailed resume
• a copy of the identity card or passport
• a covering letter explaining the applicant’s motivation for the position
• detailed exam results
• two references : the name and contact details of at least two people who could be contacted
• to provide an appreciation of the candidate
• Your notes of M1, M2
• level of English equivalent TOEIC
to be sent to
FundingContrat de recherche