Dr. Kaoumi’s research interests revolve around developing a mechanistic understanding of microstructure property relationships in nuclear materials, with an emphasis on microstructure evolution under harsh environment (i.e. irradiation, high temperature, and mechanical stress) and how it can impact the macroscopic properties and performance.
Understanding the basic mechanisms of degradation of materials at the nano/microstructure level is necessary for the development of predictive models of the materials performance and for the design and development of better materials.
To understand the response of materials under irradiation and predict their performance, one has to have an accurate depiction and understanding of the irradiation-induced evolution of the microstructure, microchemistry at relevant temperatures and doses. Use of charged particle irradiation couple with advanced characterization techniques to probe the evolution of the microstructure under irradiation is an important part of Dr Kaoumi’s research.
Also of interest in Dr Kaoumi’s group is developing an understanding of the deformation and fracture mechanisms in high-temperature structural materials to ensure structural integrity and lifetime prediction of the components (advanced steels, Ni-based alloys, etc). The lack of understanding of the deformation mechanisms in such marerials has limited the development of predictive capabilities. Of interest is the study of dynamic strain ageing, PLC effect observed at intermediate temperature ranges, and dynamic recrystallization observed at high temperatures.
Materials of interest include advanced alloys for structural and cladding applications in advanced nuclear systems (e.g. Austenitic steels , Advanced Ferritic/Martensitic Steels, Oxide-Dispersion-Strengthened (ODS) Steels), High-temperature Ni-based alloys, Zirconium alloys and nanocrystalline metallic systems.
Characterization techniques of predilection include both in-situ and ex-situ techniques e.g. In-situ irradiation in TEM , In-situ straining in a TEM, chemi-STEM, SEM, XRD, Synchrotron XRD.