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The University of Birmingham (UoB)

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Description of the legal entity

University of Birmingham was the first civic university in the UK established in 1900 by Royal Charter. The School of Metallurgy and Material at the University of Birmingham is a leading school for many areas of materials research. The school enjoys high international reputation in materials research and is keen to maintain it by encouraging very active national and international collaboration and interactions with industry.

The electron microscopy group (which participates this project) is responsible for the electron microscopy facilities of the University of Birmingham, which hosts a number of state-of-the-art instruments for materials characterisation. The group is active in microstructure and mechanical property characterisation nuclear materials including fuel cladding materials, reactor pressure vessel steels and other structural alloys used in different types of reactors. The research group hosts and maintains a suite of advanced electron microscopes including Talos F200 STEM, Helios Xeon plasma FIB. The group is also responsible for the small-scale mechanical testing laboratory which includes a range of small-scale facilities for uniaxial, cyclic and time-dependent mechanical tests. Complementary mechanical testing facilities of larger scales are also available within the School. The group works closely with School of Physics in the same university where proton beam irradiation facilities exists. The group strives to study the relationship between irradiation damage, microstructure evolution and the resultant mechanical performance of advanced alloys.

Profile of staff members involved

  • Dr Yu-Lung Chiu (male): PhD in Materials Science, with 15 years experiences in characterisation of the microstructure and micro-mechanical properties of nuclear fusion and fission relevant materials. Present position: Director of Centre for Electron Microscopy at the University of Birmingham UK.
  • Dr Hangyue Li (female): PhD with more than 30 years’ experience on mechanical evaluation. Have supervised and am supervising over 50 Ph.D students. He is specialised in characterisation of mechanical properties and microstructure, fatigue and fracture, high temperature and environmental effects on crack growth, solid state joining, Ti alloys, Ni base superalloys, titanium aluminides.
  • Dr Shanshan Si (female): PhD candidate in Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham studying microstructure and mechanical properties of alloys.

Relevant publications, and/or products, services

  • Zhao X.X., Wu J., Chiu Y.L., Jones I.P., Gu R., Ngan A.H.W., “Critical dimension for the dislocation structure in deformed copper micropillars” (2019), Scripta Materialia, 163: 137-141
  • Wang Y., Liu B., Yan K., Wang M., Kabra S., Chiu Y.-L., Dye D., Lee P.D., Liu Y., Cai B., “Probing deformation mechanisms of a FeCoCrNi high-entropy alloy at 293 and 77 K using in situ neutron diffraction” (2018), Acta Materialia, 154: 79-89
  • Rai S., Taylor M.P., Chiu Y.L., Evans H.E., Connolly B.J., Smith N., Mowforth C.W., “Electron microscopy study of the formation mechanism of catalytic nickel-rich particles and the role of carbonyl sulphide in the suppression of carbon deposition on 20Cr-25Ni steel” (2018), Materials Characterization, 144: 505-515
  • Liu L., Ding Q., Zhong Y., Zou J., Wu J., Chiu Y.-L., Li J., Zhang Z., Yu Q., Shen Z., “Dislocation network in additive manufactured steel breaks strength–ductility trade-off” (2018), Materials Today, 21: 354-361
  • Baris A., Restani R., Grabherr R., Chiu Y.L., Evans H.E., Ammon K., Limbäck M.,  Abolhassani S., “Chemical and microstructural characterization of a 9 Cycle Zircaloy-2 cladding using EPMA and FIB Tomography” (2018), Journal of Nuclear Materials, 504: 144-160

Relevant previous projects or activities

  • 3D Microstructural Characterisation and In-Situ Nanomechanical Evaluation of the Interfaces in Structural Ceramic Composites and Energy Harvesting Devices

    Investigator: Chiu Y.

    01/06/2018 - 31/12/2019

    Funder: Research Councils

    Investigator: Dong H. & Chiu Y.

    01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

    Funder: EU
  • Provision of Specialist Nuclear Services for Direct Research Portfolio (DRP) Lot 4 - Spent Fuel and Nuclear Materials

    Investigator: Connolly B. & Chiu Y.

    01/10/2015 - 31/03/2019

    Funder: Industry (Nuclear Decommissioning Association)
  • Development of Advanced Characterisation Techniques (primarily electron microscopy) to Characterise the Role of Sulphur Compunds on the Catalytic Interation with the Nano-Paricles

    Investigator: Chiu Y.

    01/10/2014 - 30/09/2018

    Funder: Industry (EDF Energy)
  • Assessment of Chemical Failure of 9Cr1Mo Steels

    Investigator: Evans H. & Chiu Y.

    01/10/2014 - 31/03/2016 (EDF Energy)

Significant infrastructure and/or any major items of technical equipment

In addition to the research equipment listed in the description of the legal entity above, there are a range of materials processing and sample preparation facilities available within the University of Birmingham. These include various high precision EDM machine, laser machines, workshops. It should also be emphasized that the availability of the proton beam irradiation is available on campus at the University and can contribute to the project directly. High-performance computing facility (

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