A Senior Researcher since 2009, Abderrahim Al Mazouzi contributes actively on the understanding of material ageing in nuclear environments. His expertise is recognized widely by his peers and has been attributed numerous academic awards.
What is your field of expertise?
Essentially material behaviour, in particular metallic materials in nuclear environments: radiation, corrosion, temperature, pressure, mechanical stresses, etc. In practice, it means observing and understanding interactions between atoms and how these affect the integrity of rector components by alternating between numerical modelling and experimental validation. We mix several disciplines: physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering.
And your indispensable tools are...?
You mean apart from my brain? Without any hesitation, I would say the computers necessary for simulation, and the powerful microscopes such as those installed at the MAI (Materials Ageing Institute) without which we could not compare and contrast our calculations and modelling with reality. But I also use other less high-tech, yet fundamental tools, like open-mindedness and collaborative work. This is actually what fascinates me in nuclear power: no single individual could ever design or run a power plant alone. And my actual contribution to this venture is to supervise the MAI scientific network and the relations between EDF's R&D and the NUGENIA* association.
"I have contributed to the boom of multi-scale modelling: from the atom to the material, from the millionth second to the 50-year life span of a component."
What is your latest source of pride?
In late 2014, I was awarded one of the twelve “European Stars” (EU Horizon 2020 programme for innovation and research). Not only was it the first time that EDF received this award, but in addition it was for a project close to my heart for its wide-open scope: PERFORM60 involves some twenty partners (via NUGENIA) working on the prediction of the combined effects of radiation and corrosion on internal vessel components that contribute to cooling the nuclear reactors. But our most outstanding reward will be to see our results in operation across the world, not only to improve safety in existing nuclear power plants, but also to invent the nuclear materials of the future.
What is your contribution to the scientific community?
The strength of this scientific community is precisely to have been able to organise itself in order to share, exchange and progress together. For a dozen years now, I have actively contributed to the boom of multi-scale modelling: from the atom to the material, from the millionth second to the life span of an equipment component (over 50 years). Scopes of this scale generate a complexity such that the best computers cannot solve them: consequently, we need to discover how to split the models without sacrificing their fine precision. Such approaches are now shared via research on DNA or nanomaterials. We are navigating along the boundaries of science!
*NUGENIA : NUclear GENeration II & III Association
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