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Jake McMurray

Energy Science and Engineering PhD, 2014


Current Employment: ORNL/UT-Battelle

Jake McMurray, PhD, is a member of the research staff in the Materials Science and Technology Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He manages several projects part of the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cycle Research and Development Accident Tolerant Fuel campaign. McMurray received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Mississippi and a PhD in Energy Science and Engineering as a University of Tennessee Bredesen Center fellow. His expertise is computational and experimental materials thermodynamics. Recent research activities include uranium bearing kernel development for advanced gas reactor (AGR) and fully ceramic microencapsulated (FCM) fuel forms as well as involvement in simulating oxygen transport in urania using physics based models. He serves on the executive committee of the Oak Ridge chapter of MRS and is a member of TMS and ANS.


Dissertation Title: Thermodynamic Modeling of Uranium and Oxygen Containing Ternary Systems with Gadolinium, Lanthanum, and Thorium

Mentors: Theodore M. Besmann

Dissertation Description: The CALPHAD method is used to assess the thermodynamic properties and phase relations in the U-M-O system where M = Gd, La, and Th. A compound energy formalism (CEF) model for fluorite UO2±x [urania] is extended to represent the complex U1-yMyO2±x [urania solid solution] phases. The lattice stabilities for fictive GdO2 [gadolinia] and LaO2 [lanthana] fluorite structure compounds are calculated from density functional theory (DFT) for use in the CEF for U1-yMyO2±x [urania solid solution phase] while U6+ [uranium 6 plus cation] is introduced into the cation sublattice of the CEF for U1-yMyO2±x[urania solid solution phase] to better reproduce phase relations in U-Ln-O systems at high fixed trivalent Ln [lanthanide] compositions. Tentative Gibbs functions and CEF representations for the fluorite derivative rhombohedral phases were developed and the two-sublattice liquid model (TSLM) was used to describe the melt.

Equilibrium oxygen pressures over U1-yThyO2±x [urania thoria solid solution] were obtained from thermogravimetric measurements and used together with those reported in the literature, phase relations, and other experimentally determined thermodynamic values to fit adjustable parameters of the CEF and TSLM along with the standard state enthalpy and entropy of the Gibbs functions representing the stoichiometric compounds. The models can be extended to include other actinides and fission products to develop higher order multi-component system assessments to support further experimental efforts and the development of multi-physics fuel performance simulation codes.


PhD in Energy Science and Engineering - University of Tennessee

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering - University of Mississippi


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