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Postdoc position at the University of Louvain (Belgium)

Modelling of the mechanical response of polycrystalline graphite in a nuclear reactor environment

Job opening on January 1st 2013 within the division of Applied Mechanics of the institute of Mechanics, Materials and Civil Engineering at UCLouvain.


When exposed to thermal cycles and fast neutron irradiation, polycrystalline
components made of highly anisotropic graphite crystals develop huge internal stresses
that are partly relaxed by creep or by microcracking. This, in turn, modifies both the
macroscopic coefficient of thermal expansion and the irradiation-induced dimensional

Some of the questions raised during the maintenance of nuclear reactor components and
the design of new plants cannot be addressed using existing empirical laws. These laws
should hence be replaced by a reliable, physically‐sound model that relates
microstructure and bulk graphite properties.

In order to pursue its collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL, UK),
the division of applied mechanics at University of Louvain (UCL, Belgium) hires a
postdoctoral fellow experienced in one or several of the following fields:
‐ fracture mechanics
‐ finite element modelling with user‐defined material law/cohesive elements
‐ continuum damage mechanics
‐ nuclear graphite
‐ crystal plasticity theory / creep

Contact : Pr Laurent Delannay (

(One year contract – Pleasant campus 25km from Brussels)


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