Modeling the corrosion behavior of stainless steels in a nitric acid media with temperature

Controlling the aging of equipment materials (mainly stainless steel) of the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is the subject of constant attention. This control requires a better understanding of the corrosion phenomena of steels by nitric acid (oxidizing agent used during the recycling stages), and ultimately through their modeling.
The materials of interest are Cr-Ni austenitic stainless steels, with very low carbon content. A recent study on Si-rich stainless steel, which was developed with the aim of improving the corrosion resistance of these steels with respect to highly oxidizing environments [1 , 2 ]; showed that the corrosion of this steel was thermally activated between 40 °C and 142 °C with different behavior below and above the boiling temperature (107 °C) of the solution [3]. Indeed, between 40°C and 107°C, the activation energy is 77 kJ/mol and above boiling point, it is much lower and is worth 20 kJ/mol. This difference may be due to a lower energy barrier or a different kinetically limited step.
The challenge of this post-doctoral subject is to have a predictive corrosion model depending on the temperature (below and beyond boiling). With this objective, it will be important to analyze and identify the species involved in the corrosion process (liquid and gas phase) as a function of temperature but also to characterize the boiling regimes. This model will be able to explain the difference in activation energies of this Si-rich steel below and above the boiling temperature of a concentrated nitric acid solution but will also make it possible to optimize the processes of the factory where temperature and/or heat transfer play an important role.

Thermodynamic investigation of Metal-Insulator-Transition materials – The case of doped VO2 for smart windows applications

The present post-doc proposal aims to develop a specific thermodynamic database on the V-O-TM (TM=Fe,Cr) system by using the CALPHAD approach. The candidate will conduct experimental campaigns to obtain relevant data to feed the thermodynamic models. The candidate will mostly use the experimental equipment available at the lab (DTA, annealing furnaces, high temperature mass spectrometry, laser heating, SEM-EDS). In addition, the post-doc may participate to combinatorial high-throughput activities led by other laboratory of the Hiway-2-Mat consortium (e.g., ICMCB in Bordeaux), allowing a better connection between the CALPHAD simulation output and the accelerated characterization platform. The thermodynamic database will be then included in the autonomous research routine implemented in the material exploration path.

Study of cleavage brittle crack initiation sites in low alloy bainitic steels with segregations

Macro-segregations of alloy elements and impurities in heavy forged 16-20 MND5 components or Pressurized Water nuclear Reactors induces significant fluctuations of these mechanical properties, and in particular, of dynamic and fracture toughness. Such a macro-segregation occurs during the solidification of the ingot and can still be observed in the final component, even after significant discarding performed on purpose during the fabrication process.
Recent results have confirmed the essential role played by specific carbides located close to grain boundaries, even for moderately segregated materials. The main objective of this Post-Doctoral internship is to precisely study some clivage initiation sites on these alloys to determine the types of carbides and the cristallographic conditions that promote crack initiation. A statistical analysis will then be performed to identify the population of these carbides within the microstructure of the material. The experimental results will be used as entries of a local approach to brittle fracture model.

Agglomerate breakage model and homogenisation by DEM simulations: Calibration with tomographic micro-compressions in X ray beam line Soleil

The reference ceramic fabrication process involves three main stages: grinding, pressing, and sintering. Pellet compaction during pressing relies on three main densification steps rearrangements by motion, compaction by strain, and agglomerate fractures by compression. This research project aims to explore the influence of the pressing step on the microstructure behavior during the sintering process. The study focuses on a powder composed of agglomerates with a microstructure based on a homogeneous mix of TiO2-Y2O3, TiO2 for surrogate UO2 and Y2O3 for surrogate PuO2. Each agglomerate consists of unbreakable elementary particles included in breakable aggregates, synthesized using the Cryogenic Granulation Synthesis Process (CGSP) [1].
Recent investigations at the Anatomix X-ray beam line in the synchrotron Soleil [2] have validated the results of tomographic micro-compressions, aligning with Kendall's theory, Fig 1. The experiments involved one-way cyclic micro-compression tests on agglomerates subjected to a simple load and unload cycle until breakage. Tomographic post-treatments provided insights into porosities, crack initiation, and propagation. Several DEM simulation studies have also been used to explore agglomerate behavior under dynamic or quasi-static loading with and without breakage, however without fully calibrating the breakage model [3], [4], [5].

Eco-innovation of insulating materials by AI, for the design of a future cable that is long-lasting, resilient, bio-sourced and recyclable.

This topic is part of a larger upcoming project for the AI-powered creation of a new electrical cable for future nuclear power plants. The goal is to design cables with a much longer lifetime than existing cables in an eco-innovative approach.
The focus is on the cable insulation because it is the most critical component for the application and the most sensitive to aging. The current solution is based on adding additives (anti-rad and antioxidants) to the insulation to limit the effects of irradiation and delay aging as much as possible. However, there is another solution that has never been tested before: self-repairing materials.
The project to which this topic is attached aims to design and manufacture several test model of insulation specimens. With several test characterization protocols, in order to verify the gain in terms of reliability and resilience. The results obtained will begin to fill a future database for the AI platform Expressif, developed at CEA List, which will be used to design the future cable.

Design and accelerated testing of corrosion FOSs for reinforced concrete structures

Corrosion of steel reinforcement is the main pathology threatening the durability of civil engineering structures. Today, structures are mainly monitored by means of periodic visual inspections or even auscultation (corrosion potentials, ultrasonic measurements, core sampling, etc…), which are not very satisfactory. There is therefore a need for instrumentation capable of detecting the initiation and location of corrosion of reinforcement in concrete and ensuring long-term monitoring (several decades or more). In the context of Civil Engineering (CE) structures, Optical Frequency-Domain Reflectometry (OFDR) appears to be a suitable metrological solution because of its centimetre resolution and measurement range (70 metres in the standard version, i.e. several thousand measurement points along an optical fibre).
Content of work: The aim will be to adapt the design of this fibre optic sensor (FOS) to increase its durability and then to verify its applicability in the laboratory. Initially, the person recruited on a fixed-term research contract will be asked to work on the durability of the connexion between the optical fibre and the armature. Two different methods are envisaged: plasma torch spraying of ceramic powders and sol-gel. Both of these processes prevent the galvanic coupling because they involve insulating materials (ceramics) and are already deployed in industry in various civil and military fields. Secondly, test specimens equipped with the FOS will be tested in the laboratory according to classic civil engineering situations, i.e. localised corrosion (pitting induced by exposure to chloride ions) and uniform corrosion (generalised corrosion induced by carbonation of the embedding concrete). OFDR acquisitions will be carried out periodically over time in parallel with conventional metrology (potential, etc.).

Design and fabrication of magnetic cores having permeability gradient using additive manufacturing

As a major technological research institute, the CEA-Liten plays a decisive role in the development of future technologies for the energy transition and the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions. The laboratory develops magnetic components working at high frequency (> 100 kHz) for an integration in compact power electronics converters. Today, the discrete magnetic components are among the most bulky parts in the power converters (~30-40%) and they are responsible of almost 40-50% of the heat losses. The advent of wide band gap semiconductors (SiC or GaN) increases the switching frequency to values above 100 kHz. This strategy helps to reduce, theoretically, the dimensions of the passives but the thermal constraints (due to the losses produced at a higher frequency) and the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC; due to the noise emerging from faster switching commutations) may constitute an issue (in a system approach). In this sense, the developments of new architectures (based on advanced core geometries or clever magnetic materials arrangements) may constitute a breakthrough. The diversity of present cores and fabrication technologies permit small incremental gains on these magnetic components integrations. Additive manufacturing is a very emerging fabrication process that allow not only developing new core geometry but also, the adjustment of core composition (by allowing the deposition of layers containing different ferrite powder composition). The post-doctoral fellow will work on the design of a core having a permeability gradient and on its electrical and thermal characterizations. The post-doctoral fellowship is of 2 years duration located in the city of Grenoble (France) with a minimum wage of 40 k€ per year. If you want to have more detail please use the following link:

Thermodynamic study of the Nb-O-Zr system for the nuclear fuel elements recycling

The first step of nuclear material recycling consists in a section-cutting process of the fuel assemblies leading to shells.
Nuclear materials in the cut sections are dissolved in acid solutions whilst structural as well as cladding materials are rinsed and then compacted in CSD-C containers for a final storage in CIGEO.
The REGAIN project aims at studying the feasibility of an alternative solution: the objective is to investigate the possibility to optimize the nuclear and cladding materials management by reducing the radiological source term. The idea is to proceed to a sequence of decontamination steps in order to minimize the waste volume: The first step consists in removing minor actinides and fission products and the second one in the separation of zirconium from structural activation products.
In order to feed the industrial process study, a part of the REGAIN project aims at collecting raw data, which will be used by the other work packages of the project.
In this framework, CEA proposes a post-doctoral position with the purpose of developing a thermodynamic database for the Nb-O-Zr system starting from literature data as well as using experimental informations obtained within the first stages of the project. It will be also possible to include a selection of key fission products into the existing database. The candidate may also be asked to complete the existing data by an experimental campaign to obtain a complete set of data for the modelling. The scientific approach will be based on the CALPHAD method: this method allows developing a thermodynamic database by the definition of an analytical formulation of the thermodynamic potential, which will be used to calculate phase diagrams as well as thermodynamic properties of multi-components systems.

Development of a simulation tool for the pitting process of a stainless steel used for the storage of nuclear waste

Structural nuclear waste is compacted in patties, stacked in a stainless steel container. In these compacting boxes are placed various metal-type materials with the addition of organic matter, including chlorinated waste. By radiolytic degradation, these can lead to the formation of hydrogen chloride HCl. During the storage phase, relative humidity may be present within the container, which, added to the HCl, may lead to a phenomenon of condensation, resulting, on the surface of the materials, of acid and concentrated into chloride ions condensates. In contact with this acid and chloride electrolyte, a pitting phenomenon is likely to begin on the surface of a stainless steel. This is a local phenomenon that can lead to the piercing of the material in extreme cases. The initiation of this phenomenon depends on several factors: the morphology of the electrolyte, its composition and its evolution over time.
If nowadays this phenomenon is well known, modeling it remains a major challenge because it is a coupled multi-physics and multi-parameter problem. Many questions remain open, particularly at the level of the physical and chemical laws to be used or how to represent the corrosion process?
The objective of the post-doctorate is to develop a tool under COMSOL capable of simulating the initiation and the evolution over time of a pit on the surface of a stainless steel. The approach will be based on a mechanistic modeling of the processes (material transport process and all the chemical and electrochemical reactions).
The post-doctorate will take place in several actions:
1- make a state of the art of the bibliography in order to understand the pitting phenomenon and to identify the laws necessary for modeling.
2-simulate the spread of the pit in a chloride environment in order to establish a propagation criterion.
3-the pitting initiation will be implemented in order to obtain a complete tool capable of simulating the pitting process

Detection of traces of narcotics in saliva by electrochemiluminescence on diamond electrodes

The consumption of narcotics is becoming a problem for road safety because 23% of road deaths in France occur in an accident involving at least one driver who tested positive. Thus, one objective of road safety in consultation with the concerned ministries (Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Economy) is to improve the fight against road insecurity linked to narcotics consumption. In particular, this involves increasing and facilitating roadside checks using a portable device dedicated to controlling the use of narcotics on the roadside, similar to what is already done for breathalyzer tests. Such a device is not commercially available today. The main prerequisites of this device will be to provide reliable, immediate confirmation results with evidentiary value for the courts as well as a purchase cost compatible with large-scale deployment on French road networks. In this context, the subject of study proposed aims to study the possible detection of traces of narcotics in saliva using electroluminescence on a boron-doped diamond electrode. This method is considered promising for such an application because it potentially allows extremely low detection thresholds to be reached and, in accordance with legislative requirements, offers multiple possibilities aimed at achieving high selectivity towards chemical targets, with a high detection capacity. miniaturization of equipment and a relatively low cost of apparatus compared to analytical tools such as mass spectrometer, IMS, etc.