NE Seminar: “Irradiation-Induced Defects in Solids and the Design of Novel Materials for Reactor Environments”


1:55 pm-2:55 pm
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Michael Nastasi, Ph.D.

Dr. Michael Nastasi is the Department Head of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University, starting in August 2019. Prior to coming to TAMU, he was the Director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and before that he was a technical staff member, Laboratory Fellow and Director of the Energy Frontier Research Center on Materials at Irradiation and Mechanical Extreme at Los Alamos National Laboratory (1985 – 2011). Mike received his BS (1981), MS (1983) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees from the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Cornell University with an emphasis on irradiation effects in materials. 

Mike’s personal research interests include ion-solid interactions, irradiation-induced phase transformations, ion irradiation and plasma modification of materials, ion beam analysis of materials, and synthesis and properties of high strength nanolayered composites. Mike’s work in these areas has resulted in several awards including the 1995 Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows Prize for his extensive research in ion-solid interactions and the R&D 100 Award in 1997 for Plasma Source Ion Implantation for Enhancing Materials Surfaces. He was elected Fellow of Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2000, elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2006, elected Fellow of Materials Research Society in 2011, and elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012.  He has co-authored more than 550 refereed publications, authored the books entitled Ion-Solid Interactions: Fundamentals and Applications, published by Cambridge University Press in 1996, Ion Implantation and Synthesis of Materials, published by Springer-Verlag in 2006, and Ion Beam Analysis:  Fundamentals and Applications, published by CRC Press in 2015, and edited several volumes including two editions of the Handbook of Modern Ion Beam Materials Analysis, published by the Materials Research Society.


Future nuclear reactors will require structural materials that can withstand extreme environments. In response, we have developed new composite systems where one of the constituents is intentionally synthesized in a non-crystalline or “amorphous” state.

Our work in this area shows that amorphous silicon oxycarbide (SiOC) alloys are extremely thermal and irradiation stable. He in SiOC remains in solution and outgasses from the material via atomic-scale diffusion without damaging its free surfaces. Amorphous SiOC exhibits intrinsically high strength and plasticity. Nanocomposites of amorphous SiOC alloys with crystalline Fe also exhibited good irradiation stability at both room temperature and elevated temperatures.

Our research indicates that the SiOC/Fe composite interfaces act as efficient defects sinks, and help in maintaining the structural stability of the composite. We believe that amorphous SiOC alloys and SiOC/Fe composites are promising candidates for structural engineering applications in future nuclear reactors.


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Materials Science & Engineering Dept.