The Material Physics and Thermal-Mechanics Laboratory (LPTM) is part of the Incident and Accident Control Department (SEMIA). It is located in Cadarache, near Marseille. Directed by Nicolas Tregoures, it includes 12 permanent staff members and 4-6 PhD candidates and postdocs.
Context and research themes
LPTM contributes to the development and updating of knowledge about materials used in the nuclear sector. In particular, it studies the behaviour of nuclear reactor fuel in normal, incident and accident situations during the whole fuel cycle (reactor, disposal, transport and storage). The laboratory also performs research in its area of specialization for other units and contributes to assessments.
In addition, the laboratory also works on understanding and modelling the evolution over time of the behaviour of materials used in the nuclear industry (metals, concrete, polymers ...) as a result of various constraints they face (thermal, mechanical, radiation ...).
In this framework, the laboratory’s skills and expertise include:
- heat transfer of materials with varying properties,
- mechanics of structures (beams, plates and hulls, etc.), behaviours, (elastic, plastic, viscoplastic, etc.), micromechanics and homogenization techniques, and rupture mechanics,
- solid-state physics (phase transitions, solid/solid, gas/solid diffusion, etc.),
- explosion-type thermal interactions between water and materials at high temperatures,
- development of scientific software (finite elements, associated numerical methods, software engineering, etc.).
- Advanced modelling of thermomechanical behaviour of UO2 using atomistic, micromechanics and mutli-scale approaches;
- Advanced modelling of thermomechanical behaviour of fuel cladding using atomistic, micromechanics and multi-scale approaches;
- Behaviour of fuel rods in reactivity insertion accidents (RIAs) (preparation and interpretation of experimental programmes in and out of pile loops, including the OECD’s CABRI International Program).
R&D on aging
- Advanced modelling using atomistic, micromechanics and multi-scale approaches on various metallic components (not including cladding) found in nuclear power plants;
- Advanced modelling using micromechanics and multi-scale approaches on concrete found in nuclear power plants.
Specialties and researchers
Frédéric Péralès: micromechanics of multiphase and highly heterogeneous environments
Pierre-Guy Vincent: micromechanics of multiphase and highly heterogeneous environments
Céline Pélissou: micromechanics of multiphase and highly heterogeneous environments
Fabienne Ribeiro: atomistic approach to nuclear materials
Andrei Jelea: atomistic approach to nuclear materials
Alain Moal: responsible for developing and validating SCANAIR software
Vincent Georgenthum: behaviour of fuel in RIA
Bernard Cazalis: behaviour of fuel in RIA
Vincent Busser: behaviour of fuel during normal operation and during transport and storage
Facilities and techniques
- SCANAIR software, for thermomechanical behaviour of fuel rods during power transients,
- FRAPCON software (developed by PNNL for US-NRC), for thermomechanical behaviour of fuel rods in normal operation,
- CIGALON software, for explosive-type thermal interaction between water and materials at high temperature,
- general computing resources (Cast3M, Mathematica, etc.),
- XPER software, for simulating complex cracking of heterogeneous materials (fuel cladding, concrete, etc.) and complex interactions between bodies (pellet-cladding contact, cladding-cladding contact, etc.),
- APOLO-GRIFF and APOLO-POM software, for modelling flows from granular environments in the presence of a fluid.
Partnerships and research networks
- Joint IRSN/CNRS-LMGC/Université de Montpellier-2 laboratory: MIST
- Multi-scale Materials Under the Nanoscope (M2UN) international research group
- Modélisation des Matériaux (ModMat) research group
- Main university partners: INSA Lyon, CNRS-LMGC, CNRS-CINAM
- Main French industrial partners: CEA, EDF and AREVA