Research

Technology and materials

Culham Centre for Fusion Energy contributes to work being carried out worldwide on the technology and materials needed for the future ITER facility and fusion power stations. Work is also carried out as part of EFDA research on the characteristics of power stations and on understanding how to choose or design materials for use in them, to minimise their deterioration when exposed to the highly energetic neutrons streaming from the burning plasma. Materials research

In recent years, CCFE, with major contributions from UK universities, has established a world-leading modelling programme that addresses how materials properties are affected by neutron bombardment from fusion plasmas. This modelling has led to major advances in several areas including: understanding the magnetic origin of the loss of strength of structural steels at temperatures well below their melting points; elucidating the formation and migration of defects in body-centred cubic metals (the class of metals most applicable to fusion); and expansion of atomistic modelling to include electronic effects and integrated scenarios with the potential for continuous (‘steady-state') operation.

CCFE participates in EFDA programmes on the conceptual design of fusion power stations (chiefly the DEMO prototype powerplant).