Equipment

UKAEA’s Materials Research Facility has hot cells for processing neutron-irradiated samples and equipment for characterising them. It bridges the gap between the university or industrial laboratory and large facilities at nuclear licensed sites, with affordable, convenient access.

We can cut, polish and encapsulate individual Charpy-style samples up to the TeraBecquerel level for analysis either on-site or back at your institute.

There is also a workshop and an experimental area for tritium, beryllium and other hazardous materials.

Experienced staff from UKAEA operate the MRF and provide users with support in sample preparation and analysis, as well as logistics advice for the transport of materials. View the Operations page to see the process of sample preparation.

MRF equipment for tritium retention measurements

MRF equipment for tritium retention measurements.

MRF capabilities


Sample preparation (available now)

  • Hot-cell sample processing for active materials
  • Sample processing for non-active materials
  • Precision Ion-beam Polishing System
  • Sputter Coater
  • Lab-scale Electro Discharge Machining for non-active materials
  • TEM discs preparation techniques
  • Glovebox sample preparation for low-active materials

Sample preparation (under development)

  • Bulk Electrolytical polishing
  • Twin Jet Electrolytical polishing for TEM discs
  • Hot-cell Lab-scale Electro Discharge Machining for active materials


Microstructural Analysis


Mechanical testing

  • Nanoindentation
  • Instrumented indentation
  • Small scale mechanical load frame (5 kN)
  • Load frame for static tests (10 kN)
  • Load frame for dynamic tests (15 kN)
  • Ultrasonic Fatigue Rig
  • Impulse Excitation Test
  • Small Punch testing setup
  • Environmental chambers for high temperature testing
  • Digital Image Correlation setup
  • Electric potential drop system


Thermo-physical characterisation

  • Laserflash Analyser
  • Dilatometry
  • Simultameous Thermogravimetrical Analyser
  • Gas pycnometry
  • Thermal Desorption Spectroscopy
  • Ion exposure and impregnation system
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