Fine-tuning multiphysics problems

Monday, March 25, 2019 - 12:30 in Physics & Chemistry

“Stretching myself radically to learn a new kind of physics or code is exactly what I want to do,” says Miriam Kreher. “It’s how I solve problems and find new ones.” A second-year doctoral student in nuclear science and engineering, Kreher is finding just the kind of challenges she craves as a member of MIT’s Computational Reactor Physics Group (CRPG). Her task: helping to develop vastly improved software simulations of the complex interactions taking place inside nuclear reactors.  “Some people focus on how neutrons move, and others look at how water flowing around the core affects temperature,” she explains. “But in nuclear reactors, these physics phenomena of neutron transport and fluid flow affect each other through complex feedback, and we need to understand both at the same time.”  This tight coupling of physics phenomena has preoccupied nuclear engineering for some time. “Getting a more precise picture of these interactions would allow for finer-tuned...

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