Research Laboratories and Facilities

The Missouri S&T Nuclear Reactor isn't the only high quality facility used by students, faculty and staff in the nuclear engineering department to conduct research. The program also has the following research laboratory and facilities:

Advanced Radiography and Tomography Laboratory

Radiation imaging has been the most successful and useful method of early cancer detection as well as a highly helpful nondestructive testing method for various industrial applications. In the ARTLAB, we are developing innovative radiation imaging systems for medical and industrial purposes. We develop and utilize a wide range of new tools, from x-ray sources for radiation imaging to sophisticated algorithms for image processing and computed tomography (CT) reconstruction. One such example is the ongoing project of developing a stationary CT for real-time 4D imaging that will be useful both in medicine and industry. For the stationary CT, a new type of x-ray tubes for fast imaging is under development. Also, we develop machine learning algorithms for radiation image analysis and automatic radioisotope detection for homeland security and defense applications. The lab is equipped with a homemade benchtop 3D CT, a clean room for x-ray tube experiment and a high-performance computer server with COMSOL software for simulation studies.

D-D Neutron Generator Laboratory

The D-D generator uses Deuterium gas and a microwave to generate plasma as an ion source to induce nuclear fusion.  This results in a relatively high-flux source of fast and epithermal neutrons useful for prompt gamma neutron activation analysis, neutron activation analysis, and radiography.  Using Deuterium rather than radioactive Tritium, as well as an “open-vacuum” construction, allows the system to be easily reconfigured for experiments.

Thermal Hydraulics Experiment, Modeling, and Engineering Simulation (THEMES) Laboratory

The Thermal Hydraulic Experiment, Modeling, and Engineering Simulation (THEMES) Laboratory is designed as a modular, multipurpose facility capable of supporting a wide variety of multiphase flow experiments, simulations, and modeling efforts.  The central feature of the THEMES Laboratory is a modular test facility designed to support up to six concurrent experiments by effectively utilizing existing infrastructure.  This allows for rapid deployment of experiments, lets projects to progress rapidly to the construction and testing phases, and reduces the cost to the sponsor. A 30 hp pump provides up to 1000 gpm of water flow at 90 ft of head, while a 50 hp compressor provides up to 270 acfm of compressed air at a pressure of 200 psi.  Flow is measured using pressure transducers, rotameters, a laminar flow element, a vortex flow meter, a magnetic flow meter, and other state-of-the-art instruments.  Robust four-sensor electrical conductivity probes for multiphase flow measurements are constructed and characterized in-house, with unique software for enhancing data processing performance.

Vacuum Technology and X-Ray Generation  Laboratory

Located in Fulton 213 this lab has facilities to produce and work with vacuum technology up to 10-9 Torr. The equipment includes roughing mechanical pumps, ion pumps, turbo pumps, glass vacuum chambers, steel vacuum chambers with programmable ramp-heating capabilities, Residual Gas Analyzer-RGA200, and a variety of pressure gauges, ion guns, and radiation detectors and other measurement equipment. Total area is 561 sq ft.

Nanotechnology, Nuclear Forensics and Radiochemistry Laboratory

The Radiochemistry and Nanotechnology Laboratory is located in Fulton 218 and houses a fume hood with wet chemistry capabilities, a two seat glove box, chemical waste disposal, safes for radioactive materials, UV-Vis Spectrophotometer, analytical balance, centrifuges, vacuum filtration and drying system, furnace, stereo microscope, ultrasonicators,  with a total area of 466 sq. ft.

Nuclear Materials Laboratory

The Nuclear Engineering department is home to two laboratories with specialized equipment for characterizing the effects of radiation on solids at the atomic and microscopic scales. Equipment available includes a Confocal Raman Microscope, a Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectrometer, a Modulated Photothermal Radiometer, a Three-Omega system configured for thermal diffusivity measurements and a Four-Terminal Resistivity Station. The facilities of the campus Materials Research Center are also available for nuclear materials related research. These facilities include state-of-the-art Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopes, X-ray Diffractometers, a Nanoindenter, Atomic Force Microscope and X-Ray Photoelectron Spectrometer among other tools. Ample opportunities exist for Nuclear Engineering students to collaborate with students and researchers in the campus Materials Science and Engineering Department.

Radiation Measurements and Spectroscopy Laboratory

The Nuclear Engineering department is home to two laboratories with specialized equipment for characterizing the effects of radiation on solids at the atomic and microscopic scales. Equipment available includes a Confocal Raman Microscope, a Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectrometer, a Modulated Photothermal Radiometer, a Three-Omega system configured for thermal diffusivity measurements and a Four-Terminal Resistivity Station. The facilities of the campus Materials Research Center are also available for nuclear materials related research. These facilities include state-of-the-art Scanning and Transmission Electron Microscopes, X-ray Diffractometers, a Nanoindenter, Atomic Force Microscope and X-Ray Photoelectron Spectrometer among other tools. Ample opportunities exist for Nuclear Engineering students to collaborate with students and researchers in the campus Materials Science and Engineering Department.

Internet-Accessible Hot Cell Facility

A dual-chambered internet-accessible heavily shielded facility with pneumatic access to the Missouri S&T 200 kW Research Nuclear Reactor (MSTR) allows authorized distance users to remotely manipulate and analyze neutron irradiated samples. The system consists of two shielded compartments, one for multiple sample storage, and the other dedicated exclusively for radiation measurements and spectroscopy. The second chamber has multiple detector ports, with graded shielding, and has the capability to support gamma spectroscopy using radiation detectors such as an HPGe detector. Both these chambers are connected through a rapid pneumatic system with access to the MSTR nuclear reactor core. The total transportation time between the core and the hot cell is less than 3.0 seconds.

Computer Labortory

Students have the opportunity to use large computer codes commonly used in the nuclear industry for reactor core design, radiation transport, and thermal hydraulics analysis. The nuclear engineering program maintains an excellent laboratory with personal computers with access to a campus cluster of numerically intensive computing (NIC) systems.

Two-phase Flow and Thermal-Hydraulics Laboratory (TFTL)

This lab is designed to perform both fundamental and advanced two-phase flow experiments simulating prototypic nuclear reactor conditions. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation such as a micro multi-sensor conductivity probe, a high-speed digital motion-corder, various flow measurement devices, and a data acquisition system and software. Topics of research studied in the lab include advanced two-phase flow modeling, two-phase flow characterization in various flow channel geometries, air-water two-phase bubble jet experiment, secondary flow analysis in liquid film flow, and development of two-phase flow instrumentation.