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The Random Finite Element Method for Energy Applications

Project Details

PhD Studentship
Nuclear graphite is a moderator and structural material used in many of the UK’s nuclear reactors. During the life-time of the reactor, the nuclear graphite is subjected to fast neutron irradiation that drastically changes the properties and dimensions of the nuclear graphite. The neutron irradiation has negative and positive effects: shrinkage and thermal stresses have led to cracking in the graphite bricks. However, neutron irradiation also causes irradiation creep, which relieves some of these stresses. These processes are not well understood and several FEM models have been created to predict brick cracking. A novel approach will be developed with the aid of the Random Finite Element Method (RFEM) to predict the cracking process of nuclear graphite. In order to run such large simulations the software ParaFEM and random field generators will be used in a supercomputer. The Random Finite Element Method (RFEM) is an extension of the Finite Element Method (FEM) that incorporates the stochastic properties of a physical model. The RFEM uses several techniques to calculate the average and variance of the response variables and, for example, the probability of failure of an engineering structure. Direct Monte Carlo simulation (DMCS) is the only method that is considered universal for complex models. The process of this method is simple; it creates several random fields which are then used by a FEM solver to create a large sample of results. The DMCS requires significant computational power to deliver an accurate estimation of the desired values. A typical sample size for estimating the variance and probability of failure is ≈ 1000 simulations. However, this disadvantage can be tackled with efficient algorithms, parallel processing and supercomputers.

I opened a blog where I inform about my progress and general information of the Random Finite Element Method.


I am using the following text books to support my research:

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