NE Seminar: “Modeling and Measuring the Stored Energy of Radiation Damage in Metals at Reactor Conditions”

Date(s) - 09/01/2022
1:55 pm - 2:55 pm

Rhines Hall 125


Mike Short, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Nuclear Science and Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael Short joined the faculty in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering in July, 2013. He brings 15 years of research experience in the field of nuclear materials, microstructural characterization, and alloy development. His group’s research is a mixture of large-scale experiments, micro/nanoscale characterization, and multiphysics modeling & simulation. The main areas of Short’s research focus on 1) Non-contact, non-destructive measurement of irradiated material properties using transient grating spectroscopy (TGS) more, 2) Preventing the deposition of deleterious phases, such as CRUD in nuclear reactors, as fouling deposits in energy systems more, and 3) Quantification of radiation damage by stored energy fingerprints more. This last project was recently selected for an NSF CAREER award.


While TEM is the workhorse of nuclear materials characterization, it cannot account for the smallest and most numerous defects produced by irradiation. This makes it difficult to draw structure-property relationships, given an incomplete window into structure.

Here, we will reveal how a combination of molecular dynamics (MD) simulated irradiation/annealing experiments predicts releases of stored energy following 300C irradiation of commercially pure Ti. We validate these predictions by differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) measurements of reactor-irradiated titanium, demonstrating that TEM indeed misses about 80% of the defects predicted by MD, which are responsible for irradiation-induced changes in material properties.

Now that we can measure radiation defects using stored energy, it opens the door to better fundamental understanding of radiation damage, to using every piece of a reactor or experiment as its own dosimeter, and even to help forensically quantify historical uranium enrichment for nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) verification.