Mechanical Behavior and Radiation Effects

This research area supports basic research to understand defects in materials and their effects on the properties of strength, structure, deformation, and failure. Defect formation, growth, migration, and propagation are examined by coordinated experimental and modeling efforts over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Topics include deformation of ultra-fine scale materials, radiation-resistant material fundamentals, and intelligent microstructural design for increased strength, formability, and fracture resistance in energy relevant materials. The goals are to develop predictive models for the design of materials having superior mechanical properties and radiation resistance. Capital equipment funding is provided for microstructural analysis, nanoscale mechanical property measurement tools, and ion-beam processing instrumentation.

The ability to predict materials performance and reliability and to address service life extension issues is important to the DOE mission areas of robust energy storage systems; fossil, fusion, and nuclear energy conversion; radioactive waste storage; environmental cleanup; and defense. Among the key materials performance goals for these technologies are good load-bearing capacity, failure and fatigue resistance, fracture toughness and impact resistance, high-temperature strength and dimensional stability, ductility and deformability, and radiation tolerance. Since materials from large-scale nuclear reactor components to nanoscale electronic switches undergo mechanical stress and may be subjected to ionizing radiation, this research area provides the fundamental scientific underpinning to enable the advancement of high-efficiency and safe energy generation, use, and storage as well as transportation systems.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see our Core Research Area descriptions and the proceedings of our Principal Investigators' Meetings. To better understand how this research area fits within the Department of Energy's Office of Science, please refer to the Basic Energy Science's organization chart and budget request.

For more information about this research area, please contact Dr. John Vetrano.