Mechanical Behavior and Radiation Effects

This program supports basic research to understand defects in materials and their effects on the properties such as 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 as well as a range of environments and stimuli. Topics include deformation of nanostructured materials, fundamentals of radiation damage, corrosion/stress-corrosion cracking in conjunction with radiation or stress, and research that would lead to microstructural design for tailored strength, radiation response, formability, and fracture resistance in energy-relevant materials. In addition to traditional structural materials, this program will also support research to understand deformation and failure mechanisms of other materials used in energy systems (e.g., polymers, membranes, coating materials, electrodes). Within these areas, research on topics such as driven systems, new materials and non-linear cooperative phenomena (multiple inputs, e.g. radiation + stress + corrosion) are of interest.

There will be an increased emphasis in the program for research on understanding defect evolution in materials in radiation environments. Research on radiation effects will be aligned to priority research directions and priority research opportunities in the reports from the 2017 workshop and 2022 round table on nuclear energy.

Of general interest to this program overall is research that take advantage of advanced synthesis methods to create tailored structures in order to better isolate mechanisms, high-performance computing and data science techniques, and advanced characterization techniques such as neutron or x-ray scattering. These fundamental science efforts are expected to impact clean energy topics in general, and may also impact advanced manufacturing and AI/ML.

Research emphasizing high-strain-rate deformation or mechanics of materials (rather than materials science) is not being supported in the program.

To obtain more information about this research area, please see 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.