Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Open research opportunities for NREMP undergraduates

Get hands-on experinece with cutting edge research. You are encouraged to learn more about faculty research as well as to browse through the projects below.

The projects are funded or for credit. Learn about PURA awards to fund salaries and help with travel to professional conference meetings.

For more infromation, contact Anna Erickson


 

 

Alternative Neutron Tracking Routine in Monte Carlo

Contact: Dr. Dan Kotlyar

Date posted: September 30 2016

Monte Carlo particle transport codes are powerful tools to simulate particle behavior in multitude scenarios, such as core studies, radiation protection and fusion research to name just a few applications. However, Monte Carlo codes are usually very computationally expensive especially when the model contains many components. The current project will examine plausible modifications to existing routines with the objective of increasing the efficiency of Monte Carlo codes.   
 
Active: Fall 2016-Summer 2017
Credit or PURA

 

Self-Sustainable Th-233U fuel cycle PWR designs

Contact: Dr. Dan Kotlyar

Date posted: September 30 2016

The project will focus on the self-sustainable Th-233U fuel cycle that could potentially be implemented in PWRs operating in thermal spectrum. Spatial separation of fissile and fertile zones reduces the competition between the fissile and fertile nuclides for neutron absorption increasing dramatically the neutron capture rate in the fertile nuclides. Such heterogeneous core structure can be implemented in various ways. Unavoidable consequence of this heterogeneous zoning would be the higher than typical power peaking in the fissile-rich zones, which will ultimately limit the maximum achievable core power density. Therefore, the objective of this project is to identify the most attractive strategy with respect to breeding and power performance. This is planned to be achieved by examining various geometrical arrangements, e.g. block types vs. pin-type configurations.
 
Active: Fall 2016-Summer 2017
Credit or PURA

 

Core modeling with OpenFoam

Contact: Dr. Dan Kotlyar

Date posted: September 30 2016

The goal is to develop OpenFOAM-based code for fuel cycle analysis. More specifically, we will couple a multi-group diffusion solver for neutronics with a multi-scale fine mesh sub-solver for thermal-hydraulics.  The idea eventually is to introduce a code that can be used in steady-state and transient analyses and that is capable of modeling multi-physics phenomena.   
 
Active: Fall 2016-Summer 2017
Credit or PURA

 

Low-cost neuron detectors

Contact: Dr. Anna Erickson

Date posted: September 16 2016

The purpose of this research is to determine the feasibility of creating an affordable and durable neutron detector for usage in the field surveys, site inspections, and transportation hub monitoring. Currently, organic scintillating detectors are an established method of detecting neutrons but are either costly, fragile solids like stilbene, or flammable liquids like benzene. In previous work, several scintillation mixtures were tested with a PuBe source, which emits both neutrons and gamma rays. The pulse shape discrimination method was utilized to separate the signal pulses created from the mixed radiation field of the PuBe source. Two candidate mixtures were selected for solidification with elastomers for their verified neutron detection capabilities. The solid detectors measured high energy neutrons and gamma rays from the PuBe source. This project will expand to other mixtures and test different solidification techniques.

Active: Fall 2016-Summer 2017

Salary, credit or PURA

 

Application of microtomography to metallic cell structure imaging

Contact: Dr. Anna Erickson

Date posted: September 16 2016

Microtomography (microCT) has been initially developed for medical application. Recently, it's been applied to CFD analyses as well as materials studies. In this project, we will look the application of microCT to transport in metallic foams. This is a year-long project involving modeling and simulation and experimental studies.

Active: Fall 2016-Summer 2017

Credit or PURA