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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/I01215X/1
Title: JOINT: an Indo-UK collaboration in joining technologies
Principal Investigator: Bouchard, Professor PJ
Other Investigators:
Fitzpatrick, Professor M Sherry, Professor AH Lowe, Professor M J S
Truman, Professor CE
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Engineering & Innovation
Organisation: Open University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2011 Ends: 30 September 2014 Value (£): 317,859
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy - Nuclear Materials Characterisation
Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The renaissance in new nuclear build in the UK and overseas has created the opportunity to develop new approaches for the manufacture and joining of nuclear components. Developments in joining technologies, including laser hybrid welding for thin metallic sections, diffusion bonding for dissimilar material systems, narrow gap fusion welding for dissimilar metals, friction-stir welding of materials for structural applications, and electron beam welding for thick sections, offer significant benefits over traditional welding techniques; creating improved microstructures, lower residual stresses and benefits in inspectability. These combine to create joints that contain fewer defects and exhibit superior performance in the challenging environment of a nuclear reactor.JOINT aims to identify and optimise advanced joining technologies through a strategic collaboration between UK academic expertise (at the Open University, Manchester University, Bristol University and Imperial College) and Indian atomic research institutes (BARC and IGCAR). All parties have a proven track record in driving developments and improvements in joining technologies and the collaboration will integrate strengths in joining technologies, state-of-the-art characterisation and joint performance testing. JOINT thus brings together partners of international reputation who are at the forefront of joining technologies and have a proven track record of access to high-end national and international facilities relevant to the project, e.g. ISIS, DIAMOND, ILL etc. JOINT will pioneer new and advanced joining technologies by optimising fabrication parameters, microstructures and mechanical properties for the reliable performance of a variety of metallic and non-metallic material joints of relevance to present and future reactor systems. Such optimisation will require among other things narrow heat affected zones, low residual stress, strain and distortion with minimum and quantifiable risk of joint defects. Developments will draw on advanced modelling approaches to simulate and predict joint characteristics, materials examinations to understand the nature of the materials of the welds and adjacent materials, experimental methods to investigate the mechanical performance, such as strength and fatigue resistance, and Non Destructive Evaluation methods to find and characterise defectsA 5 - 10 year programme of research collaboration is envisaged covering a wide range of advanced joining technologies. THe JOINT consortium will focus activities grouped under the following eight Work Packages (WP). A UK or Indian partner will lead each WP building on the strengths of each country: WP0 (lead: UK): Work planning, coordination and managementWP1 (lead: India): Pre-joint materials characterisationWP2 (lead: India): Joining technologiesWP3 (lead: UK): Post-joint characterisationWP4 (lead: UK): Joint performanceWP5 (lead: India): Joint simulation and modellingWP6 (lead: UK): Assessment and dissemination WP7 (lead: India): Foresight and future programmesThe present proposal covers the initial 3-year programme of research activities that will focus on three joining technologies: laser-hybrid welding, diffusion bonding and low vacuum electron beam welding. Although WP5 falls outside the scope of the present proposal it will be covered by sharing existing research programmes at JOINT meetings and exploiting emerging funding/collaboration opportunities. The unique opportunities provided by the JOINT consortium are the complementary nature of India's joining technology expertise and the UK's weld characterisation expertise. The research which is necessary to bring new joining technologies into nuclear plant design can only be achieved by a programme of interdisciplinary research. The JOINT consortium brings together the necessary complementary expertise.
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