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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Ceramic Composites for Nuclear Applications

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Date: Feb 26, 2019

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37831

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 181 

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate to conduct research and development of silicon carbide (SiC)-based components for nuclear energy applications, with the primary focus on development of composite materials suitable for light water reactors. This role will allow incumbent to expand knowledge of radiation damage and structural changes to nuclear materials while using the world-leading facilities for testing and evaluating irradiated materials at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Low Activation Materials Development and Analysis (LAMDA) Laboratory. This position resides in the Nuclear Materials Science and Technology Group (NMST) in the Materials Science and Technology Division, Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at ORNL.   

SiC ceramics and its composites undergo development for accident tolerant fuel cladding and core-structures of light water reactors in NMST group at ORNL. Advancement of understanding of neutron-irradiation resistance of the materials is a key area of the development. This postdoc position has a main area of focus on materials science on the effects of neutron irradiation on thermal, physical and mechanical properties and the underlying physical processes of SiC based materials. The materials of the interest also include environmental barrier and hermetic coatings on SiC-based materials. The project will include experimental examination using mechanical testing, thermophysical testing, electron microscopy, and analyzing the experimental data.

Major Duties/Responsibilities:  

  • Perform experimental research on effects of neutron irradiation on mechanical and thermophysical properties of silicon carbide ceramics and its composites
  • Conduct detailed microstructural examinations of neutron irradiated ceramics and composites materials by scanning and transmission electron microscopy
  • Analyze experimental data to elucidate mechanism of irradiation-induced damage.
  • Present and report research results and publish scientific results in peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics

Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in Materials Science and Engineering or a related discipline completed within the last five years 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Strong background in radiation effects in materials
  • Experience with post-irradiation examinations of radioactive materials
  • Experience with specimen preparation and operation for transmission electron microscopy
  • Excellent record of productive and creative research as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to communicate to an international, scientific audience
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory  
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs 

Special Requirements:
This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license, which requires U.S. Citizenship or LPR (Lawful Permanent Residence). 

Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding. 

Please provide a list of publications when applying for this position.  Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to  Please include the title of the position in the subject line. 


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

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