The Wirth Research Group investigates the performance of nuclear fuels and structural materials in nuclear environments. This research will improve predictions about the longevity of nuclear reactor components and ultimately lead to the development of high-performance, radiation resistant materials for advanced nuclear fission and fusion energy power plants.The group’s research approach involves an integrated and multi-disciplinary combination of computational multiscale materials modeling with experimental processing and characterization of materials structure and properties from the nanometer to continuum length scales to elucidate the dynamics of materials behavior.
Since moving to the University of Tennessee, Prof. Wirth has participated in the DOE funded Energy Innovation Hub for the modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, the Consortium for Advanced Simulations of Light water reactors (CASL), as the deputy focus area lead for Materials Performance and Optimization, as well as initiated a new project on plasma surface interactions funded through the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computations (SciDAC) program. The group’s research activities are currently supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy through the Nuclear Engineering University Program (NEUP), as well as through the Office of Advanced Strategic Computing, and the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. Further support comes from projects funded by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory.