Department of Materials


27 Apr 2018

Materials PhD student Stuart Robertson wins Poster Prize

Stuart R Exhibition photo x 670 

Stuart Robertson has been awarded second prize at the 2018 Materials Research Exchange for his poster featuring work with Zirconium Nitride as a high temperature material for use in nuclear reactors.

Exhibitors were able to enter the poster competition, to showcase some of the best work that our PhD students are engaged in. Stuart’s poster not only featured an important area of research into materials that can withstand very high temperatures and nuclear irradiation, but also some of the ground-breaking techniques employed within our Characterisation Centre including in-situ micro-bend testing.

There were 25 posters entered and a select panel of industrialists and founders judged the posters based on 4 criteria:

  • Research quality
  • Innovation, Creativity and Adventure
  • Expected Impact for the Academic Community
  • Expected Impact for the User Community

Bernie Rickinson, CEO of Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), commented: “The standard of posters demonstrated the excellent communication of materials innovation to a very relevant audience. IOM3 are very proud to have sponsored the prizes showing the strength of the materials industry in the UK.” 

Stuarts’s Poster abstract

POSTER TITLE: Structure and mechanical performance characterisation of zirconium nitride after heavy ion irradiation.

For improved efficiency the next and future generations of nuclear reactors require components capable of operating at higher temperatures (up to 1000 ºC). Zirconium nitride (ZrN) is of interest for high temperature and high dose nuclear applications. In this poster we will explore the effects of 4 MeV 400 dpa gold ion damage on hot pressed ZrN. SEM, HREBSD, TEM, nano indentation and micro bend testing have been used to explore the effects of ion damage on ZrN. It was observed that the mechanical properties of ZrN and Zr2ON2 its second phase is resistant to high dose ion irradiation.

The Materials Research Exchange event takes place every 4 years and demonstrates ground-breaking new materials and processes to industry to accelerate the process of taking these through to commercialisation. The two day exhibition and conference showcased the richness of UK materials innovation providing a platform to help develop commercial success of UK-generated materials research and innovation. This year the event attracted over 1300 delegates, 75 speakers and 70 exhibitors including Loughborough University Department of Materials and our Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre.

The School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering offers Stuart their congratulations upon this achievenment and we look forward to hearing about Stuart's future academic endeavours!