NE/MSE 509 Nuclear Materials

In this course, most of the materials issues encountered in the operation of nuclear power reactors are discussed. The objective of the course is to give students a background in materials for nuclear power reactors and to discuss the unique changes that occur in these materials under the reactor environment, so that students understand the limitations put on reactor operations and reactor design by materials performance. In the first part of the course we review basic concepts of physical metallurgy to develop an understanding of the relationship between microstructure and material properties outside of irradiation. In the second part of the course, we describe the process of radiation-material interaction, present the methods to calculate atomic displacement damage produced by exposure to irradiation, and describe the changes in material properties that results from irradiation exposure. In the third part of the course, special attention is given to property changes affecting the fuel and cladding performance and operational safety such as corrosion of the cladding, hydriding, fuel expansion, Pellet-Cladding Interactions, stress corrosion-cracking; Credit will not be given for both NE/MSE 409 and NE/MSE 509. 3 credit hours.


• Prerequisite

MSE 201 Structure and Properties of Engineering Materials or equivalent

• Course Objectives

By the end of this course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. understand the basics of physical metallurgy and of the relationship between material microstructure and macroscopic properties, outside of irradiation.
  2. understand the basic mechanisms of materials degradation in the reactor environment (radiation damage, corrosion, hydriding etc) (in structural and cladding materials as well as fuel materials).
  3. understand and be more knowledgeable about materials degradation issues in nuclear reactor environment.

• Course Requirements
  • There will be homework assignments, announced and un-announced quizzes and three exams.
  • In addition, graduate students will have an extra assignment in the form of a literature review assignment on a particular subject or a critique of a published research article, or a take-home assignment of homework-type problems).

• Textbook

Introduction to Nuclear Materials, K.L. Murty and I. Charit, Wiley-VCH, 2013; ISBN: 978-3-527-41201-3 (Hard cover), 978-3-527-40767-5.

• Computer and Internet Requirements

Email communication with instructor. NCSU and Engineering Online have recommended minimum specifications for computers. For details, click here.

• Instructor

Dr. Djamel Kaoumi, Associate Professor
Dept. of Nuclear Engineering
North Carolina State University
Burlington Nuclear Labs 2115, Box 7909
Raleigh, NC 27695-7909

(919) 515-2046
Instructor Website: