The University of Manchester

The Materials Performance Centre (MPC) of the University of Manchester is an interdisciplinary research centre focused on the critical issues controlling the behaviour of materials in various environments (nuclear, corrosion, etc.)  There are over 35 academics in the MPC involved in a broad range of materials research dealing with environment-sensitive behaviour of materials.  The Centre has a strong emphasis on understanding materials degradation phenomena and developing improved materials/processes for nuclear applications.  The Materials Performance Centre was originally launched as a BNFL University Research Alliance in 2002, and is now a National Centre of Excellence in nuclear materials research and training.   Our research themes include plant materials and environmentally-assisted cracking (SCC, Corrosion Fatigue, Hydrogen Embrittlement, Irradiation Embrittlement), corrosion, fuels, concrete and waste disposal, and core/fuel cladding materials. 
The MPC is also linked with the new Dalton Cumbrian Facility for proton and ion-irradiations.  The Dalton Cumbrian Facility is dedicated to fundamental radiation science and materials irradiations for studying material degradation.  This facility has a 5 MeV pellatron and a Co60 gamma irradiation system as well as mechanical testing and materials characterisation equipment (metallography, FEG-SEM, EDX and EBSD). This facility will be utilised in the SOTERIA programme.
The Materials Performance Centre is one of six research centres under the Dalton Nuclear Institute umbrella.  The Dalton Nuclear Institute is a major nuclear research institute in the UK.  The MPC and Dalton Nuclear Institute have extensive collaborations with UK universities and industry as well as with major international companies and research organisations. 
The MPC academic staff who will participate in SOTERIA have expertise in advanced microstructural analysis, irradiation damage, SCC, and IASCC.  The MPC participated in the PERFORM 60 (FP7) programme in the IASCC work package examining proton-irradiation and oxidation.

Role in the project

The Materials Performance Centre, University of Manchester, participates as follows:

  • WP4: Environmental effects on IASCC susceptibility and internals failure
    • Generate proton-irradiated austenitic stainless steel for characterisation and SCC tests
    • Microstructural characterisation of non-irradiated and proton-irradiated austenitic stainless steel
    • Characterisation of post-SCC-tested proton-irradiated austenitic stainless steel to provide information concerning extent and morphology of IASCC (fractography) and effect of proton-irradiation on deformation structures.

Personnel involved

Grace Burke, PhD:  Professor
Director of MPC and the Electron Microscopy Centre, expert in advanced microstructural analysis, irradiation embrittlement, SCC/IASCC, over 130 publications in journals and conference proceedings. Fellow of ASM International, Fellow of the Microscopy Society of America, and Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society; Member of the International Group on Radiation Damage Mechanisms in RPV Steels. Grace has extensive experience (>30 years) in environment-sensitive behaviour of materials and the correlation of microstructure with material performance, with specific emphasis on materials for nuclear power systems.  Areas of research include SCC and IASCC of austenitic stainless steels and Ni-base alloys, irradiation effects on material deformation, thermomechanical processing effects on materials, segregation effects in SCC and IASCC, and the role of microstructure, including crack-tip microstructure, on environmentally-assisted fracture. Grace is an active member of NUGENIA Technical Area 4.
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Available Documentation

Coming soon