Royce Champion wins renowned Kroll Zirconium Medal

Head and shoulders profile picture of Professor Michael PreussMichael Preuss, Professor of Metallurgy at The University of Manchester and Core Area Champion for the Royce’s Materials Systems for Demanding Environments theme has been awarded the prestigious 2018 William J Kroll Zirconium Medal.

The award recognises outstanding achievement in the field of zirconium research and technology, as well as the championing of future work in this area. The medal will be awarded at the ASTM Symposium on Zirconium in the Nuclear Industry, which Manchester will host in May – the first UK city to do so since 1978.

Michael’s research focuses on microstructure, mechanical properties and residual stresses in high-temperature materials for the aeroengine, oil & gas and nuclear applications specialiseing in zirconium alloys used to encapsulate nuclear fuel. He is one of the youngest-ever recipients of the medal, which was first awarded in 1975. Zirconium research activity in the UK has increased rapidly since he established the Manchester zirconium technology group, part of the Materials Performance Centre, in 2003.

Anand Garde, Chairman of the Kroll Zirconium Medal Selection Committee, explained in his award letter that Professor Preuss has been recognised both for establishing the zirconium technology group – which is also now leading the £7.5M MIDAS Programme in the area of zirconium/fuel cladding research – and his research leadership in mechanistic understanding of irradiation damage in zirconium alloys and their oxides.

On winning the award Prof Preuss said:

I am incredibly pleased to have been awarded the Kroll Medal. When I was establishing myself as an academic, zirconium was a bit of a risky choice of expertise, as there was so little activity in the UK – it’s great that we are now so well-recognised.

This achievement doesn’t belong just to me, but is based on the tremendous work and efforts of the whole group here at Manchester over the past 15 years, which forms a key part of a wider UK and international network.