Staff Profiles

Dr Mahmoud Mostafavi

I received my PhD from The University of Bristol, Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2009; the focus of my doctorate research was combined numerical - experimental analysis of a range of structural integrity problems: multi-axial and mixed mode fracture and micromechanics of metal failure. After my PhD I joined the Materials Performance Centre at The University of Manchester as a research associate, funded by EDF Energy, to study multi-axial damage initiation in nuclear graphite.

I then joined The University of Oxford in 2011 as a James Martin Fellow to work on three-dimensional study of damage initiation, successfully combining digital volume correlation and synchrotron X-ray computed tomography to observe and quantify damage nucleation and propagation within the materials. I took up a lectureship at The University of Sheffield, Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2013. At Sheffield, I worked on stroboscopic measurement of dynamic strains using synchrotron X-ray diffraction. In 2015 I returned to Bristol and currently I am a lecturer in structural integrity.

I was awarded a Junior Research Fellowship at Linacre College, Oxford in 2012 and I sit on the UK Forum for Engineering Structural Integrity (FESI) and British Society for Strain Measurement (BSSM) national councils.

Dr Tomas Martin

I am a Lecturer in the School of Physics at the University of Bristol. My research uses advanced microstructural characterisation techniques to characterise the structure and chemistry of materials for nuclear power plants, semiconductor devices and aerospace. In addition I supervise final year undergraduate and PhD projects, and teach courses for the MSc in Nuclear Science and Engineering and at undergraduate level in Physics.

The main course I teach on the MSc is the Fuel Cycle course, which looks into the background of the nuclear industry from the manufacture and processing of nuclear fuel, the changes it undergoes inside a nuclear reactor and the processing and storage of nuclear waste, as well as some additional lectures on energy policy and where nuclear power fits into the UK and global electricity mix.

After obtaining my MSci in Physics with Astrophysics and my PhD in chemical physics, both from the University of Bristol, I worked for two years in the renewable energy sector consulting on the engineering of wind and solar power plants. Subsequently I spent nearly four years at the University of Oxford using Atom Probe Tomography to study the atomic-scale chemistry of materials such as steel, zirconium, tungsten and uranium alloys for nuclear applications, steel, titanium, nickel and cobalt alloys for the aeronautical industry and semiconductors like diamond, silicon and gallium nitride.

In Bristol, most of my research is on the materials characterisation of steels and zirconium alloys, and how they change when used in a nuclear power plant. In my spare time, I also write science fiction, and you can find a number of my books on Amazon!

Dr Ross Springell

My first degree was an MSci (1:1) in Physics at UCL, followed by a PhD in condensed matter physics at the same institution. I then took on a post-doctoral position at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. I spent three years at the ESRF, associated with the x-ray magnetic circular dichroism beamline, ID12, working directly with Prof. Bill Stirling and Prof. Gerry Lander; with whom I have a long-standing collaboration.

I then moved back to UCL to work as a post-doctoral associate with Prof. Des McMorrow on strongly spin-orbit coupled iridate insulators. In January of 2012 I was granted a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Fellowship, focussed on the behaviour of nuclear fuel materials, hosted at the University of Bristol in the group of Prof. Tom Scott, with whom I now share many PhD students and collaborative projects in the field of nuclear materials science.

I am currently a lecturer in the School of Physics at the University of Bristol. My principal research is the investigation of actinide materials; from fundamental condensed matter physics to nuclear fuels and waste products, using cutting edge x-ray and neutron scattering techniques. My teaching involves both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes: I am 1st year physics undergraduate laboratory co-ordinator and I supervise BSc and MSci final year projects.

On the Nuclear Science and Engineering MSc, I teach Fundamentals of Nuclear Science and Nuclear Reactor Physics, as well supervise projects. I currently work in a small group within the Interface Analysis Centre, with 7 PhD students and one BEIS funded post-doctoral associate. Our group bridges the gap between condensed matter physics and nuclear materials science disciplines, giving new insights into both static and dynamic properties of metals and compounds that have important implications for the commercial nuclear sector.

Dr Nicolas Larrosa

I have completed a Mechanical Engineering degree in 2005 at the National University of Mar del Plata (Argentina) and completed my PhD in 2012 at the University of Seville (Spain) in microstructural fracture mechanics under the supervision of Prof Alfredo Navarro, a leading academic in the field. My PhD work focused on modelling the effect of the material microstructure and the size and shape of the component on small fatigue crack propagation.

After completing my PhD, I was appointed as a Senior Research Associate (RA) in Structural Integrity at The University of Manchester (UoM), where I was supervised by one of the UK’s foremost experts in Structural Integrity, Prof Bob Ainsworth. In this period (June 2013- Sep 2016), I worked and contributed to a number academic projects, funded by the BP (Oil and Gas) and EDF energy (Nuclear), in characterising fracture, fatigue, plastic collapse and corrosion-fatigue (CF) behaviour of high integrity components.

In October 2016 I was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship by the University of Malaga (Spain) to investigate the use of ultrasonic inspection data in structural integrity assessments, a research work performed in collaboration with University of Manchester. In March 2017 I was appointed Lecturer in Structural Integrity at the University of Bristol where I am the Unit Director of the Nuclear Reactor Engineering Course for the MSc in Nuclear Science and Engineering.

My background is in Structural Engineering, Computational Mechanics and Fracture Mechanics with rich experience in developing and integrating novel modelling capabilities with mechanistic-based damage models for structural integrity and life assessments. My goal is to identify and isolate the hidden but fundamental causes of damage mechanisms and to do research by engaging with the structural integrity community effectively, as demonstrated in the number of publications I have co-authored with researchers from other departments and Universities.

My work is currently supported by TWI, Wood and RCNDE.