Mechanical & Materials Engineering

The Nuclear Materials group

Nuclear Materials Research Group

Nuclear Materials Research group at the 2011 CANDU Owners Group Conference

The Nuclear Materials group carries out research on the performance, production and optimization of structural components that are both inside the reactor and in the heat transfer system. The group's funding is centered on an NSERC/UNENE/Nu-Tech Industrial Research Chair (IRC). The IRC and other grants held within the group support an R&D program to address life management issues in the existing fleet of CANDU operating reactors, in particular of the fuel channel, a key mechanical system in CANDU reactors. It also supports development programs at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and with Generation 4 partners to develop improved materials and designs for the refurbishment of existing plants and for future generations of power plants in the short, medium and long term.

Recent Publications

Change in the shape of <a> and <c> type dislocation loops as the foil is tilted in an electron irradiated magnesium.

Transmission Electron Microscope Imaging by Dr. Khan


The purpose of the research program is to further the fundamental understanding of nuclear materials and to develop applied technology required by the industry in this area. This includes radiation-induced deformation of nuclear materials, the fracture properties of such materials and the relationship of properties to manufacturing variables, crystallographic texture and microstructure.

fig 2

Use of a genetic algorithm to identify the parameters for the simulation of a tensile test by Dr. Mareau


Pole Figure

Alpha phase pole figure of Zr at 625 C taken by Paula Mosbrucker at Los Alamos National Labs (USA)


Research equipment available includes TEM, SEM/EBSD, AFM, large biaxial creep lab., hydriding facilities, delayed hydride cracking suite, image correlation, laser interferometry, x-ray tomography w/in situ deformation, expertise in use of large scale facilities (neutron, synchrotron x-rays) as well as access to a range of facilities including hot cells via collaborators at AECL Chalk River and elsewhere.

fig 2

High spatial resolution strain maps of hydrides at an engineering flaw and the surrounding zirconium matrix measured with synchrotron x-ray diffraction (APS at Argonne National Lab)

The group collaborates with industry, government laboratories and universities throughout the world including:

  • Companies: AECL Ltd, Kinectrics Ltd, Rolls-Royce Ltd (UK).
  • Government Labs: NRC Chalk River, Los Alamos National Labs (USA), Rutherford Appleton Lab. (UK), Argonne National Lab (USA), CNEA Bariloche (Argentina), Brookhaven National Lab (USA).
  • Universities: McGill, McMaster, UWO, Penn State (USA), U. Manchester (UK), Open University (UK), Polytechnical University of Hong Kong.

Group Members

Rick Holt, Professor Emeritus

Mark Daymond, Chair, Professor

Zhongwen Yao, Assistant Professor

Senior Research Associates

Syd Aldridge

Formerly President of Nu-Tech Precision Metals, and an expert in the metallurgy of zirconium alloys.

Post Doctorial Fellows

Prakash Srirngam

PhD Students

Yasir Idrees

Microstructural characterization, with Transmission Electron Microscopy, is imperative because it underpins the mechanistic understanding of the radiation induced microstructural features, which is essential for predicting materials properties at higher doses. more...

Kazi Ahmmed

Microstructural analysis of Zirconium Excel Alloy (Zr-3.5Sn-0.8Nb-0.8Mo), which could be a possible candidate for pressure tube materials in Nuclear power sector, will be investigated. more...

Fei Long

Fei's research is on the impact of irradiation damage on deformation behavior of Zirconium alloys. more...

Qiang Fang

Sali Di

He Zhang

Hongbing Yu

Master Students

Megan Swain

Megan's research involves fatigue of zirconium alloys. more...

Dale Campbell

Through the use of yield surface evolution based upon the models results the bridge between the self-consistent model and that of the commercially available FEA programs can be achieved. more...

Travis Skippon

Identifying the correct modelling parameters to reproduce experimental results can be a difficult problem. more...

Louis Liao

Louis' research is to investigate the effect of cooling rates on the morphology of the phases of Zr-2.5Nb alloy. more...

Chris Cochrane

Marta Majkut

Connor Kemp

Student Alumni (since 2008)

Hamid Abdolvand Ph.D.

His current research is focused on crystal plasticity modeling of HCP and FCC crystals using finite element to model anisotropic behaviour and crack propagation of Zr. more...

Mohammad Sattari Ph.D.

The goal of his research is to investigate the microstuctre and texture of Excel pressure tubes in order to find the optimum microstructure for creep resistance. more...

Mathew Kerr Ph.D.

His graduate work focuses on the characterization of hydride mechanical properties using high energy x-ray diffraction. more...

Wenjing Li Ph.D.

Her research is focused on effect of textures on thermal creep of pressurized Zr-2.5Nb tubes. more...

Colin Judge M.A.Sc.

He studied cryogenically deformed zirconium alloys for his MSc. Colin is presently writing up his thesis while also working at AECL Chalk River.

Ravi Kumar M.A.Sc.

His research is focused on indicating threshold stress intensity factor (KIH) below which the cracks will not grow for delayed hydride cracking of Zr-2.5Nb. more...

Sharon Goldthorpe M.A.Sc

Her research is focused on the memory effect and strain associated with the formation of hydrides in Zr-2.5Nb. more...

Rebecca Toda M.A.Sc

Her research is focused on modeling materials' behaviour using FEM and Self-Consistent Modeling, specifically considering nickel alloys used in nuclear reactor steam generator tubes. more...

Paula Mosbrucker M.A.Sc

Her research is focused on texture evolution and variant selection in Zr-2.5Nb. more...

Greg Allen M.A.Sc

His research is focused on understanding the role of hydrides and hydride strains in the growth of cracks in zirconium alloys. more...

Eric Tulk, M.A.Sc

Eric's is interested in quantifying hydride phases in zirconium at low (~100ppm) hydrogen concentrations. He is also studying in the effects of varied hydride populations on Delayed Hydride Cracking (DHC). more...

Sarah Wan, M.A.Sc

The aim of Sarah's current research is to understand the change in the stress field produced when localized creep occurs in the vicinity of a flaw. more...

Post-Doctorial Fellow Alumni

Corey Hamelin

His ongoing research seeks to assess the sensitivity of type 2 (i.e. intergranular) strains to local variations in crystallographic orientation. more...

Charles Mareau

His modeling approach is based on an incremental Elastic Plastic Self-Consistent (EPSC) model that enables to estimate the interactions between the different heterogeneities. more...

Abdul Khan

His research focused on microstructural characterization of Zirconium alloys by transmission electron microscopy. more..

Andrew Barrow

Laura Barrow .