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Multiphysics Modeling and Experimental Characterization of Printed Magnetostrictive Acoustic Sensors

Faculty Member: Zhangxian “Dan” Deng

Magnetostrictive acoustic sensors offer the potential to measure a range of parameters, including geometry changes, temperature, crack initiation and growth, gas pressure and composition, and microstructural changes under harsh irradiation test conditions. Main challenges currently associated with acoustic sensors in nuclear reactors are integration and signal processing. Well-established additive manufacturing capabilities at Boise State University and INL, such as AJP and nScrypt micro-dispenser, have the potential to resolve sensor integration challenges by directly depositing functional magnetostrictive materials on target components. Establishing a fundamental understanding of the printed magnetostrictive materials and validating their effectiveness in future acoustic sensors are the next research steps needed to accelerate their applications in next-generation nuclear reactors. In addition, a multiphysics finite element framework for printed magnetostrictive acoustic sensors isalso crucial for guiding the development of signal processing strategies.

Student Research Experience: Working at the INL High Temperature Test Laboratory and CAES, students will characterize the microstructures, mechanical properties, and magnetic properties of printed magnetostrictive materials. They will also experimentally investigate the performance of printed acoustic sensors, especially in irradiation, high temperature, high pressure, and corrosive environments. Examples of acoustic sensors include waveguides and surface acoustic wave devices. Students will learn finite element tools (e.g., COMSOL Multiphysics) to simulate the performance of printed sensors, which couple mechanical, magnetic, electrical, and thermal dynamics.