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Nuclear materials

Prof. Marc Scibetta – Université de Liège
Prof. Eric van Walle – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Prof. Rik-Wouter Bosch – Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


90 hours study time

  • 24 contact hours theory
  • 10 contact hours exercises/laboratory sessions/visits
  • 3 hours additional personal (readings etc.)

    • To assess the basic aspects of material science as they apply to nuclear systems.
    • To review the basic processes of material degradation and ageing due to the nuclear environment (radiation effects, corrosion and fatigue).
  • Part 1: Material sciences: Properties of materials in relation with their processing, micro-structure and intended performance (M. Scibetta – 1 ECTS)

    • Atoms and their interactions
    • Crystal structure and imperfections
    • Phase diagram and kinetics effects
    • Material properties (excluding radiation effect and corrosion)

    Part 2: Corrosion phenomena: (RW. Bosch – 1 ECTS)

    • Basics of electrochemistry of aqueous corrosion
    • Overview of common forms of corrosion (uniform corrosion, galvanic corrosion, pitting, stress corrosion cracking, …)
    • Methods of corrosion prevention and protection (coatings, inhibitors, cathodic protection, design against corrosion, …
    • Corrosion monitoring (electrochemical methods, electrical resistance, ..)
    • Concise overview of main corrosion problems in LWRs

    Part 3: Reactor pressure vessel life management (E. van Walle – 1 ECTS)

    • Radiation effects: introduction and general principles
    • Reactor Pressure Vessel Degradation Mechanisms: part 1 

    Visit and laboratory session to the SCK•CEN research infrastructure

    • Laboratory session on mechanical testing: cold lab and hot-cells (M. Scibetta)
  • The PowerPoint presentations of the lectures are available on the BNEN website.

    Other useful references:

    • Murty, K L., and Indrajit Charit. An introduction to nuclear materials : fundamentals and applications. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH, 2013
    • Konings, Rudy J., et al. Comprehensive nuclear materials. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2012.
    • Glasstone, S. & A. Sesonske, Nuclear Reactor Engineering, 4-th Ed, Vol 1, Chapman & Hall, New York, 1994  (Chapter 7: Reactor Materials, pp 406-462)
    • William D. Callister, Jr., David G. Rethwisch Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction, 9th Edition, Wiley, 2014
    • Furio Ercolessi. A Molecular Dynamics Primer 1997  
    • T. L. Anderson  Fracture Mechanics: Fundamentals and Applications, Fourth Edition, CRC, 2017
  • Courses in the following field

    • Nuclear energy: introduction
    • Introduction to nuclear physics and measurements

    Basic chemistry, material behaviour.

    • Part 1, 2 & 3: Oral examination with written preparation, open book 
    • The laboratory session on mechanical testing are compulsory and cannot be repeated in second session. 
    • Report on the laboratory session on mechanical testing (10%).
    • The grade will be determined by weighing the grades on the separate parts, in proportion to the number of ECTS per part. In case of a failure for one of the parts, the examination committee can decide to penalize by lowering the final grade.
    • The separate parts of the examination can be scheduled on multiple days.

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