Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Nuclear Research Focus Areas

Advanced Nuclear Power Plant Design and Operations

Advanced reactor concepts and analysis, design optimization of sodium-cooled fast reactors, development of compact heat exchangers for high temperature gas-cooled reactors, and fluoride salt-cooled reactors investigation of air ingress phenomenon for high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, design of a molten salt reactor for space applications. Coupling of high-temperature reactors with process heat applications.

Faculty: Blue, Denning, Sun, Zhang

Applied Nuclear Physics and Radiation Science

Applied nuclear physics and radiation science provide the underlying basis for a wide range of applications of nuclear technologies.  This area of research is concerned with the interaction of different forms of ionizing radiation with materials, including the development of novel sensors to detect radiation, advanced nuclear instrumentation and measurement methodology, the damage caused by radiation on material properties, use of neutrons, gamma- and X-rays as an interrogation or probing tool to study advanced materials or to characterize special nuclear materials, radiography, radiation therapy, and radiation transport problems.

Faculty: Blue, Cao

Nuclear Instrumentation and Control

Instrumentation and control systems, software reliability modeling, automated software testing, human reliability analysis, digital systems reliability and risk assessment, advanced nuclear reactor instrumentation.

Faculty: Aldemir, Smidts

Nuclear Materials, Fuel Cycles, and Waste Management

Material corrosion/oxidation, stress corrosion cracking, nuclear materials degradation, coolant technology, electrochemistry, nuclear fuel cycle modeling, multi-scale simulations, fluid/solid interfacial interactions, radioactive waste management.

Faculty: Zhang

Radiation Protection, Detection and Radiation Effects

Health physics, semiconductor detector development, static and dynamic characterization of radiation-induced degradation of semiconductor power devices, radiation hardness testing of semiconductor sensors and optical fibers

Faculty: Blue, Cao

Risk, Reliability, and Safety Analysis

Nuclear reactor safety, probabilistic safety/risk assessment of large engineering systems, non-linear system diagnostics and prognostics, reliability analysis, probabilistic risk assessment (Levels I, II and III), nuclear power plant severe accident analysis modeling, dynamic methods of probabilistic risk assessment, uncertainty quantification in dynamic systems, fire risk assessment.

Faculty: Aldemir, Denning, Smidts

Thermal and Fluids Sciences

Thermal-hydraulics and reactor safety; two-phase flow experimentation, modeling, and numerical simulation; interfacial structure characterization and bubble dynamics; advanced instrumentation in multiphase flows; high-temperature compact heat exchangers; Thermal hydraulics in high-temperature gas-cooled and fluoride-salt-cooled reactors.

Faculty:  Sun, Zhang