Designer nanocomposite materials for future nuclear reactors

M.J. Demkowicz
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US

Keywords: nanonuclear, nuclear, composites

Summary:

Conditions expected in some next generation fission and future fusion reactors may far exceed the operating limits of current reactor materials. How can we design materials that can survive the extremes of radiation, temperature, and chemistry likely to be encountered in future nuclear reactors? I describe one approach that holds special promise: the creation of nanocomposite materials with tailored interfaces. The interfaces in these nanocomposites are no mere microstructural features: they are functional components designed specifically to trap, recombine, or remove radiation-induced defects, thereby healing radiation damage. I will discuss both the functionality of such designer nanocomposites as well as the prospect their eventual synthesis in industrially relevant quantities.