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Reference Number EP/Z002559/1
Title Design of Interfaces for ADditively Engineered Metamaterials (DIADEM)
Status Funded
Energy Categories Nuclear Fission and Fusion (Nuclear Fusion) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 25%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 75%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr M Simonelli

Faculty of Engineering
University of Nottingham
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 September 2024
End Date 28 February 2026
Duration 18 months
Total Grant Value £257,036
Industrial Sectors Manufacturing
Region East Midlands
Programme Manufacturing and the Circular Economy
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr M Simonelli , Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham (99.997%)
  Other Investigator Professor RJ Hague , Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr I Maskery , Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Dr CJ Tuck , Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Nottingham (0.001%)
Web Site
Abstract The UK has a clear roadmap to establish itself as a global leader in fusion power technology, a field anticipated to play a pivotal role in clean energy generation over the next 50 to 100 years. A major milestone in this journey is achieving a net positive energy output in the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion plant by the year 2040.The key to accomplishing this ambitious goal lies in effectively containing the plasma generated in the fusion reaction, a feat only possible if the materials used in the core components of the plant can withstand the extreme combination of irradiation, thermal, magnetic, electric, and mechanical stresses anticipated in these facilities. Remarkably, no single material system alone can withstand these conditions.Currently, the prevailing designs for components near the reactor core relies on tungsten, a material renowned for its excellent thermal conductivity and resistance to radiation damage. These tungsten components are kept cool by being connected to copper heat sinks. However, these existing designs face limitations in performance due to conventional manufacturing methods. These methods restrict the complexity of shapes that can be created, and the use of various joining techniques (such as brazing, fasteners, welding, or adhesion) introduces elements like bolts, holes, or interlocking mechanisms. These features can potentially undermine the overall structural performance of the component.Our proposal suggests a drastically different approach to manufacture. We believe that such parts should be manufactured using a bottom-up process that enables the deliberate design of structural and property variations in a component. That is, a manufacturing process that allows to translate into physical parts the outcome of concurrent design activities that simultaneously maximise the thermal extraction behaviour of copper heat sinks and the radiation-resistance design offered by tungsten barriers.To achieve this vision, we require the capability to precisely arrange tungsten and copper in three dimensions with deterministic control, guided by computational methods. Unfortunately, this capability is currently significantly limited, with state-of-the-art at prototype levels. Therefore, the core objective of our research is to explore the potential of multi-metallic additive manufacturing, a capability recently developed in the UK, to establish new guidelines for design and fabricate multi-metallic advanced structures.A significant research challenge lies in establishing rules for mixing and evolving the metal-metal joint (interface) that forms during the deposition of tungsten and copper. We also aim to develop new interface material models and integrate them into design activities that extend to the component level (macro scale). We anticipate a spectrum of complexities in these interfaces, which will vary depending on factors such as build arrangement, thermal history, and deposition sequence. Determining these models will require the support of first-of-a-kind characterisation experiments, including microscopy and thermo-mechanical testing, alongside computational metallurgy.Once we have established this foundational research, our goal is to deliver structures tailored for fusion power applications. We will design and rigorously test these structural prototypes in collaboration with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), one of our project partners.

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Added to Database 03/07/24