Materials in Nuclear Engineering

Nuclear Engineering, Second Cycle
1 ali 2 year
Course director:
Lecturer (contact person):

Jan Filip Oskar Tuomisto, Prof. Dr. Leon Cizelj, Prof. Dr. Iztok Tiselj

Hours per week – 2. semester:

Enrolment into the program. Knowledge of subjects of the Reactor Engineering & Energy Technology course.
Positive result from colloquia (or written exam) is necessary to enter the oral exam.

Content (Syllabus outline)

Introduction to materials
Historic overview and classification of materials.
Materials for conventional components.
Nuclear materials
Crystal structure
Unit cell. Miller indices. Ionic solids.
Crystallographic defects
Point defects. Line defects (dislocations). Grain boundaries. Bulk defects (voids).
Microscopic model of diffusion. Macroscopic model of diffusion. Diffusion in ion solids.
Mechanical properties of materials
Stress and strain. Elastic deformation. Plastic deformation. Slip. Dislocations and fatigue.
Failure of material
Ductile fracture. Brittle fracture. Cyclic loading. Creep.
Phase diagrams
Equilibrium between phases. Fe-C phase diagram. UO2 phase diagram.
Electrochemical potential. Corrosion rate. Role of environment. Protection from corrosion. Erosion – corrosion.
Nuclear fuel
Microstructural evolution under irradiation. Temperature profile in a fuel pin. Swelling of nuclear fuel because of fission products. Release of gaseous fission products.
Radiation damage in materials
Dynamics of collisions between atoms. Calculating the displacement per atom in the solid. Collision cascades.
Macroscopic effects of irradiation
Embrittlement and hardening. Swelling and creep.

  1. W. D. Callister, Materials Science and Engineering, Wiley, 2003.
  2. D. R. Olander, Fundamental Aspects of Nuclear Reactor Fuel Elements, TID-26711-P1, NTIS, 1976.
  3. B.D. Wirth, Nuclear Materials,
Objectives and competences

To acquire basic knowledge about properties and the behaviour of materials and the effects of irradiation on material properties. Application of thermodynamics, properties of solid materials combined with irradiation effects to understand the properties of materials. Ability to solve problems of materials in nuclear engineering.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Basic knowledge of the structure of matter and the effects of irradiation on matter.
Understanding of relationship between microscopic structure of matter and macroscopic properties of materials.
Acquired knowledge enables understanding of behaviour of construction and other materials in nuclear engineering and an awareness of restrictions on the use of different materials.
Combining theory of solids, thermodynamics and nuclear physics into useful applicable knowledge.
Transferable skills:
Integration of different disciplines of theoretical physics. Understanding of technological uses of materials in nuclear engineering.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, seminars, homework, consultations. Some content will be given in the form of e-teaching, the use of internet and with active participation in scientific research projects.


written exam
oral exam
grading: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (according to the Statute of UL)

Lecturer's references

Leon Cizelj
1. SIMONOVSKI, Igor, CIZELJ, Leon. Cohesive element approach to grain level modelling of intergranular cracking. Engineering fracture mechanics, ISSN 0013-7944. [Print ed.], sep. 2013, vol. 110, str. 364-377, doi: 10.1016/j.engfracmech.2013.05.011 [COBISS-SI-ID 26794279]
2. SIMONOVSKI, Igor, NILSSON, Karl-Fredrik, CIZELJ, Leon. The influence of crystallographic orientation on crack tip displacements of microstructurally small, kinked crack crossing the grain boundary. Computational materials science, ISSN 0927-0256. [Print ed.], 2007, vol. 39, no. 4, str. 817-828 [COBISS-SI-ID 20743207]
3. CIZELJ, Leon, SIMONOVSKI, Igor. Microstructurally short cracks in polycrystals described by crystal plasticity, (Materials science and technologies). New York: Nova Science Publishers, cop. 2010. XII, 77 str., ilustr. (nekaj barv.). ISBN 978-1-61668-811-0. ISBN 1-61668-811-4 [COBISS-SI-ID 24131367]