Understanding Material Dissolution in Aqueous Environments for Fusion Applications

The University of Manchester


We are pleased to present an exciting PhD opportunity in collaboration with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), offering a unique chance for candidates to join the fusion cause. Fusion, the process that powers the sun and stars, is one of the most promising options for generating the cleaner, carbon-free energy that our world urgently needs. UKAEA leads the way in realizing fusion energy, partnering with industry and research to achieve groundbreaking advancements. The PhD project will focus on an experimental investigation of the corrosion behavior of fusion alloys in high-temperature, high-pressure water, specifically for fusion nuclear power plants. A background in materials science, engineering or related subjects is recommended for this application. The PhD studentship is fully funded for home students / UK nationals and it includes a competitive stipend, providing a supportive environment for cutting-edge research.


This PhD opportunity, offered in collaboration with UKAEA, focuses on an experimental investigation to quantify the corrosion product (CP) release in high-temperature, high-pressure water under operating conditions of fusion nuclear power plants. The primary objective of this research project is to reveal the complex dynamics of cations released (e.g., Cu, Fe, Cr) from CuCrZr alloys and reduced activation ferritic/martensitic EUROFER-97 steel, as a function of different water chemistries and flow rates. The project employs a comprehensive approach integrating various experimental methodologies to address the significant concern of corrosion products in water-cooled reactor technology, particularly for the divertor and water-cooled breeder blanket components of the tokamak fusion power plant.


The candidate structural and coolant alloys for the DEMO fusion reactor, such as CuCrZr alloys and reduced activation ferritic/martensitic (RAFM) steels, can exhibit general corrosion when exposed to a flowing aqueous environment, thus promoting the release of metal cations (e.g., Cu, Fe, Cr) into the loop. The formation, release, and redeposition of CPs can strongly affect the structural integrity (e.g., wall thickness reduction) and heat transfer dynamics of the aqueous coolant environment. Moreover, these corrosion products can become activated corrosion products (ACPs) due to the high-energy neutrons predicted in the plant, thus introducing a radiological hazard to the safety of staff during maintenance operations. The PhD project aims to provide valuable insights to enhance the safety and performance of nuclear power plants by performing cutting-edge characterization of ACPs through microstructural, compositional, and topographical analyses. The research endeavors to advance knowledge in the field, offering critical information on the impact of ACP formation and mobilization as a function of environmental conditions, deposition rates, and material surface conditions.

Methodology and Output:

The PhD project employs a multifaceted methodology that integrates different experimental approaches to quantify the ACP release in an aqueous environment for fusion applications. Experimental investigations will be conducted at the University of Manchester and the Henry Royce Institute, utilizing sophisticated experimental rigs to simulate the environmental conditions predicted in the divertor and breeder blanket components. The research will focus on the comprehensive characterization of corrosion products, employing microstructural, compositional, and topographical analyses to unravel the complexities of corrosion product formation. The research data will contribute to supporting new and validating existing codes (e.g., OSCAR) to predict the formation of corrosion products in high-temperature, high-pressure water environments specifically for fusion nuclear power plants.


This PhD studentship offers a competitive industrial stipend uplift from the EPSRC base rate.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2.1 honours degree or a master’s (or international equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering related discipline.


At Manchester we offer a range of scholarships, studentships and awards at university, faculty and department level, to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers applying for competition and self-funded projects.

For more information, visit our funding page or search our funding database for specific scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.

Before you apply

We strongly recommend that you contact the supervisors for this project before you apply.

How to apply

Apply online through our website: https://uom.link/pgr-apply-fap

When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, if you already having funding or if you wish to be considered for available funding through the university, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees.

Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

After you have applied you will be asked to upload the following supporting documents:

  • Final Transcript and certificates of all awarded university level qualifications
  • Interim Transcript of any university level qualifications in progress
  • CV
  • Supporting statement: A one or two page statement outlining your motivation to pursue postgraduate research and why you want to undertake postgraduate research at Manchester, any relevant research or work experience, the key findings of your previous research experience, and techniques and skills you’ve developed. (This is mandatory for all applicants and the application will be put on hold without it).
  • Contact details for two referees (please make sure that the contact email you provide is an official university/work email address as we may need to verify the reference)
  • English Language certificate (if applicable)

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing .

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your email – cover/motivation letter where (nearmejobs.eu) you saw this posting.

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