Many congratulations to Professor Edmund Tarleton, who is one of the Royal Academy of Engineering's new Senior Research Fellows, working on STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), which is part of a wider project ('Design by Fundamentals') addressing the significant lack of relevant data on the materials response to yet unchartered, extreme, fusion environments. Once the first generation of fusion reactors are operational, it will be possible to gather this data. STEP is an ambitious programme which will apply the latest breakthroughs in materials modelling to simulate the behaviour of irradiated engineering alloys to help guide the design of a prototype fusion reactor.
The STEP project will look at how metals form and break, which will require writing computer code to solve equations, running computer simulations and comparing predictions with experiments to validate the model. Working with UK Atomic Energy Agency (UKAEA), the model will inform the design of a new fusion reactor, with the aim of making fusion energy a reality.
Professor Tarleton has been working on fusion materials since he joined the University of Oxford as a graduate student, and this five year Senior Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering is giving him the opportunity to make a real-world impact. Fusion places incredible demands on the materials used, but with support from UKAEA and the University of Oxford, achieving the aims of this Fellowship project will be hugely beneficial to mankind.
As Professor Tarleton says:
"Fusion is a really exciting technology; it's the natural power source for the universe as it powers the stars. If we can harness it on Earth, it will have a huge positive impact on the world".