PhD Position or Postdoc Position – Modelling the Response of Tungsten for Fusion reator Thermal Loading Conditions

Jülich Research Centre (FZJ)

Jülich, Germany

Work group:

IEK-4 – Plasmaphysik

Area of research:

Scientific / postdoctoral posts,PHD Thesis

Job description:

The Institute of Energy and Climate Research IEK-4, Plasma Physics, conducts a research and development programme to selected questions of high-temperature plasma physics and of material research for thermonuclear fusion devices. This work is carried out in the frame of the national fusion programme of the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, of the EUROfusion Consortium and of the European F4E Agency (Fusion for Energy). In the field of fusion technology, the institute supports the construction of ITER and W7-X in a project-oriented manner. The corresponding tasks aim at establishing the prerequisites for a burning fusion plasma, to gain a new primary source of energy.

Job Description:

Divertor components in a fusion device are exposed to high thermal and neutron loading conditions. To accommodate requirements of engineering design, and effects of transient thermal loads and steep thermal gradients, as well as neutron irradiation, it is necessary to explore and compare performance of materials with different microstructure and mechanical properties, to arrive at an optimal component design.

Tungsten and tungsten alloys are the primary candidate materials for plasma facing divertor components, where material produced using conventional manufacturing methods is brittle at ambient conditions. Highly mechanically deformed tungsten, however, exhibits high stability under irradiation, retaining its mechanical properties after exposure to ion irradiation.

While experimental and materials development research effort is focused on stabilizing the microstructure of tungsten over a broad range of temperatures, and on the development of industrial methods for manufacturing the material, it is highly desirable to develop a self-consistent model for the mechanical properties of this new material and formulate relations and criteria suitable for the incorporation into the engineering finite element framework.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified individuals interested in contributing to the development of quantitative understanding of the relationship between the factors characterizing the loading conditions (high plasma energy flux resulting in high thermal gradients, accompanied by the exposure of the material to ion bombardment and neutron irradiation) and elastic and plastic deformation, as well as irreversible stresses, strains and deformations resulting from irradiation and accumulation of gases in the tungsten divertor components, to help address and quantify high temperature structural stability of the components under repeated cycles of thermomechanical and irradiation loads.

The selected candidate is expected to focus his/her research in the following areas:

  • Multi-scale modelling of physical processes determining the response of the novel tungsten material to thermal and radiation conditions.

  • Mechanical and microstructural modifications and damage formation in fusion divertor components.

  • Understanding macroscopic failure mechanisms and their influence on the component lifetime.

  • Engineering rules and design codes.

Note: This position is in support of a collaboration between the EUROfusion Project WPMAT and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), USA, to assist progress in the development of design of a fusion power plant. It is expected that a mission to UCLA should be included in the Training Program for this appointment.


Master degree or PhD in materials sciences or an engineering discipline. 

Application Process:

Please find all information about the application process by using the Guide for Applicants.

Proposals shall be submitted via email to no later than midnight of 6 September 2019. The candidates are expected to be available for the interview to be held in Garching during the week of 25 – 29 November 2019. Should you have any questions about the application process, please contact or If you have any further questions regarding the vacancy, please contact Dr. Gerald Pintsuk (g.pintsuk@fz-juelich).

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Quote Reference: EEG-2020/30