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Nuclear Engineering Program collaborating in Energy Frontier Research Center

The Ohio State University is a collaborator on a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC). A cohort of 42 new and renewed centers announced in June 2018 have been established to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to strengthen U.S. economic leadership and energy security.

Graduate Research Associate Yuzhou Wang (left) and Khafizov will perform experimental work related to materials.Graduate Research Associate Yuzhou Wang (left) and Khafizov will perform experimental work related to materials.Ohio State collaborates in an EFRC led by Idaho National Laboratory (INL), which brings together universities, industry and other organizations to conduct fundamental research in response to “grand challenges” identified by the scientific community. Researchers within the laboratory's Center for Thermal Energy Transport under Irradiation—TETI for short—will investigate ways to improve conduction of heat through materials in extreme irradiation environments.

According to INL, the aim of TETI is to reveal the fundamental physical mechanisms driving heat transfer in advanced nuclear fuels under irradiation. As a collaborator, Ohio State is studying the impact of radiation-induced microstructure on the ability of materials to transport heat.

Leading those efforts is Marat Khafizov, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering’s Nuclear Engineering Program. He’s using a laser-based experimental method—called modulated thermoreflectance—to measure thermal transport in metal oxides with tailored microstructure. The results will be used to validate advanced models of heat transport in actinides, certain radioactive metallic elements.

“This will have an impact on thermal management in a range of applications, including nuclear power and high-power electronics,” said Khafizov.

Funding of $400,000 over four years will support Ohio State’s work as part of the EFRC.

Joining INL and Ohio State in TETI are Columbia University, Purdue University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Central Florida and Air Force Research Laboratory. Funding for all partners will total $11.5 million over four years.