Materials undergo degradation in their thermal, physical, chemical and mechanical properties during their service in extreme environments of radiation, corrosion, pressure and high temperature. These extreme conditions exist in fission/fusion reactors, nuclear waste environments, space, melt and radiation processing of materials. Interestingly, most often some of these conditions co-exist and produce synergistic effects that are different from individual effects. Thus, understanding the phase stability of materials in static conditions and their modifications under dynamical conditions is vital to predicting the performance of materials and if possible design better materials. For example, predicting the fate of uranium oxides in the reactor during the burnup or in a nuclear waste form, requires precise thermodynamic data. Understanding the synergistic effects of radiation and oxidation of fuel elements and leaching of nuclear waste-forms. Interaction of radiation involves processes with time scales ranging from femtoseconds to hours. Thermo-migration causes redistribution of oxygen and fission products inside the fuel pellet that changes the reactivity in nuclear fuels and is capable of inducing significant changes to heat transfer within the fuel that could also lead to drastic restructuring and local melting effects. These and many such phenomena, in turn, affect the performance, reliability and safety of the fuel and waste form in a normal and transient condition. Similarly, melt processing of glass, glass ceramics requires understanding the time dependence of phase formation in addition to the temperature. During the talk, Dr Maulik discussed some of his research interest in nuclear materials with an aim to instigate ideas for possibilities of
collaborative research in the future. The talk also gave a brief overview of experimental
capabilities that are available at the Univ. of Liverpool to undertake such research adventures, as well as provide co-funding opportunities available between India and UK.
Bio: Dr Maulik K. Patel
Senior Lecturer in Nuclear Materials Science (Tenured Assistant Prof.)
Department of Mechanical Materials and Aerospace, University of Liverpool
Harrison Hughes Building, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GH
Dr Patel did his PhD in Physics from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in India in 2009 and his post-doctoral research at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) until 2012. He started his academic career as a research assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK). In early 2017, he joined the University of Liverpool in the UK as a Senior Lecturer (tenured assistant professor). Dr Patel’s primary research area lies in the field of nuclear materials to understand the crystallography and radiation damage in ceramics that are used as fuel and for nuclear waste encapsulation. At UTK his work was mostly funded through the Department of Energy - Nuclear Engineering Universities Programs (DOE-NEUP) and established a diffraction core user facility consisting of 4 diffractometers for the entire campus. During this time, he had also reverse engineered a technique to measure texture in carbon fibres. At Liverpool, Dr Patel leads a group to study accident tolerant nuclear fuels to enhance the safety of nuclear reactors, radiation damage in glass and glass-ceramics, the microstructure of composite fuels. The group expertise also lies in using high energy accelerators and several lab and synchrotron/neutron-based scattering techniques to characterize materials. He has recently initiated new research in the field of photocatalysis to produce Hydrogen from water splitting via. obtained grants Global Challenges Research Funds to work with India. Dr Patel has published 30 papers, 1 US patent and 1 book chapter.
Some of the awards/recognition he has received include
Research Fellow of the Department of Atomic Energy in India.
Sandwich PhD Fellow of the French embassy.
Visiting research professor at CentraleSupelec, Paris.