Please tell us about yourself
After my Initial Exposure to Metallurgy, I fell in love with Microstructure evolution in metals which made me delve deeper into the study of metals and made me a self-motivated Materials Engineer.
Since, Most of the components in the Nuclear Industry such as Reactor Pressure Vessell (Low Carbon Steel), Fuel Cladding (Zirconium), Structural Materials (Austenitic Stainless Steels, Ni-based alloys), etc are made up of metals which exactly align with my Interest I am currently pursuing my Masters in Nuclear Engineering.
Graduate student Pratik Joshi was exploring potential summer internships when his college adviser suggested he look into opportunities at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Pratik Joshi spent 12 weeks conducting research on advanced structural alloys as a participant in the Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
What did you study?
Prateek did his BTech in Metallurgical Engineering from College of Engineering, Pune and M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from North Carolina State University.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
As he dug into the lab’s rich history, Joshi discovered that he and ORNL shared a connection: ORNL scientists helped develop the first creep-strength enhanced ferritic (CSEF) steel, Grade 91, a material that just so happened to be the focus of his research project as an undergraduate.
Joshi knew then that ORNL was the place for him. He applied and was accepted into the Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) Program at ORNL, which offers research opportunities related to nuclear engineering for undergraduate and graduate students.
Tell us about your work
Under the guidance of Yanwen Zhang, Ph.D., a distinguished research and development staff member in ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division and director of the Energy Dissipation to Defect Evolution (EDDE) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC), Joshi contributed to research that seeks to understand the fundamental mechanisms of radiation damage in materials. Specifically, Joshi studied the dissipation of radiation energy in concentrated solid-solution alloys that contain nickel. These alloys are expected to have a wide range of applications in both fission and fusion reactors.
At the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Joshi and other EDDE team members employed a technique known as ion beam channeling to examine the effects of radiation on the nickel-containing alloys and identify defect evolution in a radiation environment.
How does your work benefit the society?
Ultimately, Joshi said, the EDDE team’s research will help establish new design principles for radiation-tolerant structural alloys and lead to safer and more economical operations at nuclear power plants.
For Joshi, his 12-week NESLS internship offered a rewarding research experience and provided several valuable professional development opportunities. One highlight was Career Connections Day, where Joshi learned the importance of forming meaningful connections throughout one’s career and received advice on his resume and LinkedIn profile. Additionally, he relished the chance to tour ORNL’s state-of-the-art facilities, including Summit, the world’s fastest supercomputer.
Your future plans?
Joshi continues to pursue a master’s degree in nuclear engineering at North Carolina State University and plans to seek a doctoral degree in materials science. After completing his studies, he hopes to work at a national laboratory, such as ORNL, and develop new radiation-resistant materials for use on spacecraft.
The NESLS program at ORNL is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy.